The coroner's assistant opened the drawer and pulled back the sheet, and Calla saw a living woman. Lucy's face was intact, her eyes closed, her long red hair fanned out around her head. She was breathing softly, chest moving just the slightest bit. Even her clothes were there--gray sweater, dark jeans, a chunk of quartz on a thin gold chain. Calla bit down hard on the inside of her cheek and concentrated on now. The image flickered and blurred and vanished, leaving only the waxy, jawless corpse, naked and autopsy-scarred.

Bodies remembered what they'd been.
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 Whitaker, Nathaniel, Psychic | 28 | He/His/Him | Bisexual
Nathaniel Whitaker
 Posted: Nov 18 2014, 01:22 PM
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Nathaniel Whitaker
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Nathaniel Whitaker



You are three years old, and your anneanne* is singing you a quiet, raspy lullaby as your fever breaks. The dark things still linger at the corner of your vision; they whisper in your mother's tongue, and you can feel their prying eyes on you. Your heaving sobs wake your mother, who runs to comfort you. As she lifts you from the toddler bed, the shadows begin to disappear. Anneanne is gone as well, but the skin on your cheek where her withered hand reached out to touch you is still cold.

This is when the dreams begin.

You are four years old, and the nightmares paint dark blue circles under your eyes and the things that slip under the crack in your door at night leave scratches on your arms and bruises on your back. Your older brothers are happy and healthy, their dark skin unmarred by the phantoms that visit you, and they scream as they rush headfirst on their bellies down the slide. You stay close to your mother and father's side, listening to the adults who whisper to each other that something must be wrong with that boy.

You are six years old, and your eldest brother creeps through your door with a toy gun in his hand and sits at the end of your bed. "Don't worry, Nathan," he announces in a stage-whisper. "I won't let the monsters get you." His gun holds a single rubber band, and you don't think it will keep the bad things away, but when you fall asleep, you do not dream, and there are no new bruises when you wake. Casey is asleep at the foot of the bed, his rubber band clutched tightly in both hands.

In the corner, Anneanne rocks back and forth in the powder blue chair. Her raspy lullaby once again fills your bedroom, and when Mama wakes you with tears in her eyes, you do not have to ask why she is crying.

You are seven years old, and your first grade teacher, Mrs. Evans, has asked you to stop talking to yourself nearly a dozen times before she finally gives up and calls your mother. "I'm talking to Mary," you argue again, but she ignores you. Beside you, the pale, watery eyed child stamps her feet and sticks out her tongue. Mary's white dress is soaking wet, but then again, it always is.

Your mother comes to pick you up. She does not say hello to Mary, although you know she sees her, and when you get in the car, she informs you that you will not be going back to school. It is not until years later, when you see the headstone, that you realize why.

You are fourteen, and your mother finally broaches the subject of school with you again. Home-school has done you wonders; with no classmates to distract you from your own thoughts, you thrive. You no longer wake screaming from the nightmares, and the bruises on your brittle body are beginning to fade (you will one day learn that they are self-inflicted).

She is seventeen years old, and for ten whole minutes you think you love her, because she never asks you to remove your gloves or looks confused when her thoughts wander into your head and you can't tell them apart from the world outside. You think you love her, and that's true because the way her fingers get caught in the pixie knots in your shaggy hair is something no one else can replicate, can replace. But you both know you aren't in love with her, and you try anyway, and you fail, and you both come out the better for it.

You are eighteen years old when an instructor plucks the gloves from your desk and tells you that the world is your oyster, that you're too young to be so tired all the time. You wonder if he's ever woken in the middle of the night, the thick, coppery taste of someone else's blood filling the back of his throat. If there are dead things that whisper to him in the dark, beckon him to relinquish his hold on himself--only for a moment, only for a moment, they cry!--and let them have another chance at life. You wonder how he would feel in your shoes, and you want to scream at him, but you say nothing and take back your gloves instead.

You are nineteen years old, and the doctor tells you that the green pills might quiet the voices inside head, and that the blue pills will help you sleep, and your mother keeps both locked in the medicine cabinet in her bathroom because she can't ask you not to take them (you've been suffering for so long), but she can't trust you not to take them all (you've been suffering for so long).

You are twenty years old, and when his fingertips graze the skin on your hips you know that he will love you someday, but not yet, and that brings tears to your eyes because you love him now, and no amount of psychic mumbo jumbo is going to change that destiny, for better or for worse.

You are twenty two years old, fresh out of college, and you can feel your knees knock together as you stand on the doorstep of your future. The other trainees do not know, should not know, about the things that make you different--even after years of practice, you clutch the pillbox in your pocket like a rosary as you enter a room full of strangers and hope to a god you doubt exists that you don't have to take them. You perform admirably on your aptitude test, and when you return home and his fingertips graze the exposed skin on your hips yet again, your eyes fill with a different kind of tears. You breathe a sigh of relief.

You are twenty seven years old, and the job is killing you, slowly but surely. He has told you time and time again that Homicide is a terrible place for someone with your gift, that the bruises on your body and the dark circles under your eyes are beginning to return as the dead things try to creep back in, and he doesn't have whisper his concerns as you curl against him in the dark because you know he is the only thing keeping them out, and that frightens you. You turn in your resignation the next day.

You are twenty eight years old, and everyone in the department still calls you Detective, although that is no longer your official title. Now everyone you've ever worked with knows why you wear thick leather gloves and stare off at the unseen, why you can't eat fast food, why the circles under your eyes seem to grow deeper every day, and some of them think that you're a freak, but more of them value your input because you've been hiding it for so long. You don't feel at home, but you don't feel so far away either.

Notes

Nathan's family consists almost entirely of psychic individuals, though their psychic abilities are more manageable than his. All four of his brothers exhibit some kind of psychic trait, passed down from their mother and grandmother. He registers as a 9.4 on the Human Psychic Scale, and is currently taking anti-anxiety medication to keep his reactions to his abilities under control.

Nathan lives with his fiancè, Billy, who does his best to keep him sane. The duo live in Baltimore, Maryland.

Nathan is unable (or unwilling) to drive a car due to the severity of his outbursts, and prefers to walk or take a cab.

He is still in regular contact with his mother, Sasha, who has been supportive of his abilities his entire life.
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Nathaniel Whitaker
 Posted: Jul 21 2015, 10:06 AM
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Nathaniel Whitaker
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Baltimore, MA
Last updated 7/20/15.
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