A look of concentration crossed Matthias’s face, then Catherine gasped and went pale. It was followed almost immediately by a soft groaning sob as he released her hand.
â€œCatherine?â€ he said in a concerned tone.
â€œI thought you said a touch of a headache,â€ she moaned laying her head on her forearms. â€œThis feels like a herd of elephants stampeding through my head.â€
â€œHmm? It shouldn’t be that bad.â€ Matthias shot an appealing look at Karen.
â€œHere, let me.â€ Karen got up, walked around the table to Catherine and laid her hands on the the woman’s shoulders. She massaged them gently as she spread a psychic anodyne through the woman’s headache. Once Catherine started to relax and lifted her head again, Karen turned her attention to feeling for the source of her pain â€“ because Matthias was right. It should not have been that bad.
Karen’s healing slid down into Catherine’s brain easily enough as she searched. And it didn’t take her long to find the strange, cold lump. It might have been Matthias’s information dump that triggered the headache but it was this thing that had caused it to be so debilitating. Catherine would have been having them more often but her own healing had been holding her at bay. Karen prodded at the thing gently with her mind, trying to work out what it was. It felt wrong and not in the way a normal injury of illness felt wrong.
“That’s strange,” she said after a moment.
“Is that a tumour?” Catherine asked in a nervous tone and Karen cursed to herself as she realised the woman had managed to follow her probe with her own healing ability. Catherine shook her head, answering herself. “No, it doesn’t feel like one. What the hell is it?” Her eyes were wide and scared.
â€œI’m not sure,â€ Karen admitted, and smiled at Lucas as he began sending calming vibes to the woman again. â€œWe should get someone who knows more than me to look at it.”
“A tumour, Kaz?” Matthias asked quietly.
“Something like that but it doesn’t feel quite like one, like she said.” She broadcast the feeling of the strange, cold lump to them all.
Matthias glanced over at Lucas. “You’re right, we are going to have to introduce her to Sarah.” He looked back at Catherine. “Whatever it is I have a friend who will surely be able to fix it. I’ll talk to her this evening. But more importantly for now â€“ did Karen get rid of the pain? Because we really need to have that conversation about Jayden.”
Catherine stared at him for a moment and then nodded. “We do, don’t we. Yeah, she fixed the headache okay. I wish I knew where he was, but we’ve never been that far north as a family…” She hesitated and shook her head again. “He’s always been strange, you know, but this is beyond his usual strange.”
“I know. But tell me about him,” Matthias said. “He’s never been one to talk about his adoption as I recall. There may be something buried in there that will help us.”
“No, he’s never liked to talk about it, though no one can really blame him for that. From what my parents were told, he was abandoned as a baby and they never found his mother. Babies are usually easy to place but he was such a troubled kid from the start that every family who took him in bounced him.â€
â€œHe was a bad kid?â€ Matthias asked.
Catherine shook her head. â€œNo, not bad. It was just that he used to have the most awful night terrors and wake up screaming. Nothing that bad in and of itself, but I’m sure you can imagine the trouble that caused in someone as strong as he is. No one would keep him until my parents fostered him.”
“Poltergeist type problems?” Matthias asked and she nodded.
“Like you wouldn’t believe,” she said. “He nearly destroyed the farmhouse twice during the first year after he came to live here, just because of bad dreams.”
“Hmm. With that much fuss I’m really surprised that one of the families didn’t notice and adopt him before your parents even got to foster him.”
“Mum decided to adopt him because she realised he was gifted and he’d never thrive in a normal family. Dad just went along with it because he tended to humour Mum when it came to that sort of thing. I think she was more than a little flummoxed by just how talented he turned out to be. She managed to calm his fits by making him keep a dream diary and channelling him into art. But he was always strange.”
“Art?” Matthias asked. â€œHe never struck me as an artist.â€
Catherine pulled a face. “He hides it. I think it embarrasses him for some reason – possibly because his drawings were so creepy that his teachers at school sent him to a shrink. I don’t know if he’s still into it but he used to draw a lot in his spare time.” She sighed. “I really don’t know where he might be, but I do still have a pile of his stuff if you want to go through it and see if there’s anything that might help you find your son.”
“That would be helpful, thank you very much.” Matthias nodded. “So when did you last see him?”
“It was three or four months ago. He swung through briefly with that pretty Indian girl he seems to be attached at the hip to.”
“You mean Laxmi?” Matthias asked. “I really don’t know what she sees in him.”
“That’s her, and neither do I. I’m not sure that she does either. She seemed to be swinging between being bored and exasperated with him.”
â€œWhat did they want?â€
â€œDamned if I know,â€ she replied. â€œHe said he was just visiting but one thing I’ve learned is that Jayden is never just visiting. They spent a lot of time up on Exmoor. I think they were looking for something. He wasn’t in a good mood when he left, so I don’t think they found it. Laxmi seemed relieved though.â€ She rose to her feet. â€œJayden’s stuff is in his room. Do you want me to show you where it is?â€