Apr 02 2017

B #AtoZChallenge Beck and Call #Fiction #SFF

#AtoZChallenge2017 Badge B #AtoZchallenge @JLenniDorner

My THEME for the A to Z challenge 2017 is an ongoing speculative fiction story featuring telepathy.

Each letter post is titled and inspired by a commonly misused word or phrase.

B #AtoZChallenge Beck and Call #Fiction #SFF @JLenniDorner

Beck and Call

Making friends with a teacher may offer me some extra protection. I wait for the other students to leave before approaching Mr. Bennett’s desk. The sweat rolls down his face. He tugs his necktie like it’s a noose. His heartbeat sounds like it’s auditioning for the marching band.

Born this way, changed with puberty, or just happened one day? I spin my finger as I think with volume.

“Puberty. About your age.” He scratches at his desk with a ruined fingernail.

No need to be verbal. I can hear you. The bell rings, emptying the hallway.

“You’re going to be late to your next class.” He eyes the door.

“Stop averting your gaze. Do you seriously think that eye contact has anything to do with this?”

He holds his head in his hands. I’ve never made a teacher nervous before. Then again, I’ve never had a teacher who was like me. Okay, saying he’s like me is pushing the boundaries of accuracy. He has a small taste, a sampler plate, of the abilities. I’m the Thanksgiving Feast with leftovers for days. He has what the government knows about; I have what they most fear.

Now that I know about you, your mind is at my beck and call. You could be sound asleep and on the other side of the world, and I would still be able to communicate with you.

Is that a one-way relationship? You’re the first one I’ve known to hear inside my head.

He thinks about pain as a splinter from the desk slides under his broken fingernail.

“Funny, isn’t it?” I grin. Having listened to so many thoughts, and now knowing someone can hear yours.

Tears spill down his cheeks. “Funny isn’t the word. This isn’t appropriate. I’m your teacher. You shouldn’t be in my head. I can’t always censor my thoughts.”

Think it, don’t speak it. Seems like we’re both going to be teachers. I drop my bag and balance myself on a desk in the front row. You aren’t as gifted as I am. Your power developed at puberty; that’s what we call an Eve Two. That means you are what you are. You won’t expand what you can do. The part of your brain that gives you this ability is fully formed.

He nods as he mulls over what I’ve told him. He’s debating if this is good news or bad news.

If I had millions of dollars, I’d fly to Brazil and get one of those doctors who can correct minds to fix me. His eyes widen a second after the honest thought. “Not that you need to be fixed. I mean… I’m sorry.”

Mr. Bennett is genuine about his apology, as well as his guilt and fear. He hates himself.

That happens when you grow up feeling like the only one of your kind. I hand him my sticker sheet, which only has one fat cat under a flower left on it.


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If you had $10 million dollars, what’s the first way you’d use a large chunk of it?

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
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  1. Interesting story! I just figured out that the italics are the thoughts and the regular type is spoken. Took me a minute. If I had $10 million I’d pay off my bills and my kid’s bills so we all have a clean start.

    1. Yeah, that seems to be fairly standard in publishing, so I figured I’d use it. I tried colors, but it looked distracting.

  2. Very innovative treatment Lenni, love your theme choice. This is very educational in fact!

    Phew! $10 million? Hank will go for 1) charity 2) full-settle current loans and liabilities 3) invest in annuities (safer risks) 4) travels and leisure, all in that order. Quantum may not be equally distributed perhaps #1 and #3 will take the chunk of it. Great!


    1. Wise answers.

  3. The story’s getting very intriguing and entertaining.

    I’d probably do lame stuff if I had that kind of money – child’s education, some home comforts for the ageing family members, maybe sponsor a library for kids? and travel of course.
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    1. Sounds like a good plan. And thanks.

  4. I’d start with paying off my sister and brother’s mortgages, then buy homes for my two older nephews, who would otherwise never own a home. If there was anything left, I’d donate it to charity.
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    1. It says something about this world that paying off two mortgages and buying two other homes is potentially enough for millions of dollars to be spent.

      1. It took me eight years to pay off my mortgage, on a loan of $55,000. And that was many years ago. Where you live is important and my family live in expensive areas. A flat in my area, nowhere near the size of mine costs around $500,000 now. A *small* house over $1,000,000! So, yes, homes are expensive nowadays. Location, location, location. 😉
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  5. Wow! This is such an interesting premise and I love your story telling style! I need to go and check A also!
    Hope this is in continuity as I am totally hooked 🙂


    B is for BodyArt #atozchallenge
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    1. All month long!

    1. Good answer.

  6. Interesting read. Love the way you articulate thoughts and dialogues in a separate tone.
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    1. Thank you.

    • Natasha on April 3, 2017 at 12:11 AM

    Ahaa! Gets more nail-biting… be back tomorrow!

    Blog: natashamusing
    Theme: Travel Epiphanies
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    1. Thanks!

  7. There must be a lot of downsides to hearing thoughts as well as benefits. Switching it off would be nice!
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    1. Indeed. That’s being explored in this story.

    • Anna on April 3, 2017 at 1:11 AM

    Poor Mr Bennett. This must be so unsettling for him.

    $10mil? Um buy a house. Settle in for hermitude. Spend the rest of my days reading and writing.
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    1. Sounds nice.

  8. And I started to like her yesterday… today she’s just mean! And I wonder about that sticker sheet, what’s up with that?
    (But the writing is good 😉)
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  9. And then? And then? What happens?
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  10. She becomes more intriguing by the day… Happy A-to-Z-ing.
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  11. Next, please!

    If I had $10m the first thing would be to ensure the Norfolk Wildlife Trust can purchase the bit of Hickling Broad currently for sale. Then I’d find some other useful thing to do with the rest, that would probably involve more land purchases to save wildlife from developers. 🙂 Or else check with my vet to see if she’s trying to raise money for some humungously expensive live-saving kit.

    Know anyone who’d send me the cash?

    Jemima hopping with the Book Bloggers question of the day for B
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    • Duncan on April 3, 2017 at 6:57 AM

    I really have no idea what I’d immediately do with 10 million dollars! I’m probably not ready to receive such a sum

    Absolutely Amazing Alliteration

  12. This is delightful. I particularly like the way you’ve separated the thoughts from the words. Now, what to do with the money…!

    Today in Amble Bay!

  13. Engaging post! Enjoyed reading it.
    If I had that much money. would go and travel all over the world right away!
    Best Wishes!
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  14. hi…interesting read…..

    that much money means paying of the mortgage and keep some aside for the childs education…..and definitely some for my retirement…..I’d like to be independent till my dying day if possible

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  15. Love how you made use of a common “eggcorn” (homophone error) to build a story.

    As for the $10 million–aside from the boring stuff like becoming debt free and saving for retirement and my kid’s education, I’d purchase a historic house in the Poconos and turn it into a retreat center where the hubs and I could run retreats for writers, philosophers and people in ministry. Of course there would have to be a stable and horses with it, too. 🙂
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  16. Sounds like this is going to be an interesting story. I have a few telepathic characters in one of my own stories, and I know it can be a tricky thing to write well. I really like the way you’re handling it.
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  17. You’ve taken on one huge A to Z Challenge this year! Love it and loved reading your Beck and Call post. As to the vast amount of money? I’d probably donate a lot. Who needs so much? 🙂
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  18. I love the cat and mouse in this episode. Hmm more to come.

    10 Million- so many people (most of them under 25) I know in Uganda could be helped with that money. The trick is not just handing it out but creating foundations and scholarships (and cures) that benefit the people the most.

    Get some rhythm for your day with the Acholi “Bat Beat.”
    A Piece of Uganda
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    • FinnBadger on April 3, 2017 at 11:25 AM

    I’m enjoying where this story is going.

    I have to say I have never heard this phrase misused.

    Phillip | B is for banana

    • FinnBadger on April 3, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    Oh, and I’d pay off the mortgage and try and invest the rest for an early retirement!

    • John on April 3, 2017 at 4:35 PM

    I think Mr. Bennett is in for a ride!
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    • Darcy on April 3, 2017 at 6:24 PM

    Pay off bills and travel.

    • Debby on April 3, 2017 at 6:50 PM

    Good post, interesting read.

    Baby Boomers – sheltered from life’s fallout??

  19. Another great instalment! I like how the student has become the teacher
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  20. The roles of the teacher and student reversed! Intriguing narrative and left me wanting more.
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  21. I’m really enjoying this story! Sorry I’m a bit late coming back, after day one of the challenge life went crazy so I’m catching up on the blog-hopping part now hehe.

    My “B” post 🙂 http://nataliewestgate.com/2017/04/body-secret-diary-of-a-serial-killer
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    1. I’ve been trying to hit 100 blogs a day. (So, naturally, the neighborhood I’m in lost power and Internet for a few hours yesterday.) Trust me, I know how life is.

  22. If I had ten million dollars, I’d use it all to buy books, books and more books. And, buy a bungalow large enough to keep all the books, and with a view to die for. 🙂

    Good going with the story! I’m reading your the story posts at one go!
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  23. Well, now she’s getting kind of creepy. Good stuff. 😀 And, yes, I realize I’m now horribly behind on the story. 😛
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