Sonia returned a few moments later and sat down by Matthias and Andrew.
“So,” she said. “I imagine you have questions.”
“Why were you lying to us about who you were?” The question came from Carrie. She was one of the founding members of the Paranormal Club and also one of the oldest; a couple of years than Andrew. She’d lost both of her parents in the pulse and was looking after her younger brother single-handedly. The boy in question was there as well but he was asleep, leaning against her. Andrew hoped that caring for him was the only reason she looked so tired.
“Ah,” Sonia said. “Cutting to the chase, I like that. But it wasn’t about lying to you. The kids and I were hiding from another family who tried to kill me when they were toddlers. We hadn’t even told the kids until a few weeks ago.”
Carrie tapped her tongue against her teeth then smiled. “So Drew wasn’t lying to us. I’m glad. He’s never seemed like a liar. So I assume you dropped the pretense about being dead because of what happened?”
Sonia smiled wryly. “Actually, it was because the people who wanted me dead finally found out I wasn’t and came after me again. Fortunately we’ve managed to sort that mess out. It wouldn’t do to have someone trying to kill us with everything else going on.”
“So what did happen?” Keith asked. “Why is that tear in the sky and why did that pulse kill so many people?”
“The person who did it decided it wasn’t fair that some people had powers and others didn’t,” Matthias explained. “He was trying to fix that by giving everyone powers.”
“Oh! That’s why people have been spontaneously expressing abilities?” Keith scowled. “But that strikes me as really wrong. You can’t force things on people. I mean, I wouldn’t mind having powers like yours but they should have asked me.”
“And it looks like it all went wrong anyway,” Alan added.
“It did and he should,” Matthias said. “We did try and stop him but he managed to pull it off anyway.” He looked down. “And it’s likely to get worse as more and more people are affected.”
“Yes,” Sarah said. “Who’s been having headaches and strange dreams?”
All his friends raised their hands and a couple of the parents.
“That’s the first symptom,” Sarah said. “We can sort it out so you don’t lose control like those kids in the news but if you don’t want powers at all, that will be more complicated. And there’s something else. Someone else took advantage of the pulse for even worse reasons.” She took a breath and told them about the neurotoxin and its effects. “We really will need to check you all for that, since George and his father are infected.”
“But you can cure it?” Carrie asked urgently.
“We can,” Sarah said. “Fortunately.”
“The ones who released it, it’s creatures like the one in London, isn’t it?”
“One of them, yes,” Matthias said. “But they aren’t all like her, fortunately.”
“What are they?” Alan asked.
“That is a very long story,” Matthias said. “And one we’ll explain once we’re sure that everyone is well. If that’s okay with everyone.”
“We’ll need to come to that school that was attacked with you, won’t we?” Carrie asked.
“It’s probably wisest,” Sonia said.
There was quiet discussion among Andrew’s friends then. In fact, he was surprised how subdued it was. He’d expected more argument and anger but instead there was a sort of sad acceptance.
They’ve been through a lot, Sonia told him. I think they are too tired to be angry any more at the moment. Then there’s you; they trust you, Drew.
It seemed she was correct. Everyone accepted it pretty quickly and she opened a gate back Brierthorne and led them all through it.