Here's my entry for the generous Chad Rohrbacher's contest, to win free Gischler. Comments welcome. Follow Chad's link to vote. Thank you!
Paige smiled at the security guard with the wand. Mint green superimposed the tan around him. He'd come into money.
"Congratulations!" she said.
"Thanks," he mumbled. Mud-brown spots darkened the colors over his head. Distrust. Paige sighed. She gathered her carry-ons before his distrust detained her.
Wait till Toronto, she admonished herself. At the psychic convention she could reveal her insights. She hurried through the concourse, disregarding the overlapping, colorful haze to find her gate.
A monitor showed her flight was on time. Only an hour to kill, she thought. Cinnamon mingled with fresh-brewed coffee. Cinnabon to the rescue.
Paige touched her gurgling stomach, not sure if her innards reacted to the aromas or her nerves. She anticipated the convention but felt like an imposter. Auras only indicated emotional or physical well-being. Phantom hues never stopped a crime or saved a life. No, she wasn't a seer; she was a sneak—a peeping-tom reading strangers' souls.
"Hi, may I help you? Love your bag." Paige hugged her tote closer to her side. The clerk's compliment belied her band of critical navy. Paige ordered a mochalatta and declined the bun, the clerk's resentful sulfur killing any appetite.
Paige found a seat near her gate. Some people queued along the loose ropes, others sat around. A young mother brought her toddler to the window, pointed at a taxiing plane. A business man speaking to himself elbowed past an elderly couple. The husband gripped his wife's arm to steady her. The old man winced. Paige noted a yellow-grey cloud around the elderly man's joints, and a Bluetooth inside the businessman's predominant reds. Before she learned too much about her fellow travelers, she rifled through her bag, checked for her boarding pass and passport.
"We have two things in common."
Paige whipped her head up, stared through a muddy-orange haze at a dazzling white smile inside a groomed five-o'clock shadow. He gestured toward the brochure peeking from her bag with his Cinnabon cup. She slid her bag back between her feet.
He laughed. "I know, we hate to be found out. Well, it doesn't take a psychic to deduce you're going to Toronto." He nodded toward the large 42C. His muddy-orange blended into an orange-red. "My gate too. Matt Hewitt." Paige inwardly groaned. Vain and horny, she though, fearing a mile-high club invitation.
"Don't tell me... your special ability is finding Cinnabons?" He laughed, air-clinking his cup.
"Just one of my specialties," she mumbled, hoping he'd notice her lack of warmth.
"My forte, if you will, is healing. Reiki, to be specific." Paige checked his colors for the non-existent apple-green. To his credit, no dishonest hues clouded his aura; he believed he possessed skills. He mistook her aura-reading as interest and sat down next to her, stretched his legs. "Glad to meet someone on my journey."
Matt launched into an animated conversation about himself. Paige coughed to suppress a giggle, which prompted hand-positioning hovering her "lungs" and explanations of energy fluxes. She smiled blandly, fixed her attention at the gate podium.
An agent took his position, checked paperwork. A flight attendant wheeling her bag stopped to share a story with the gate agent. Conversations lulled as travelers gathered their strewn belongings and queued between the ropes.
"Let's meet up in Toronto," Matt said.
"My schedule's pretty...."
Paige didn't finish her sentence. The flight attendant had no aura—no colors at all. Paige glanced at the gate agent's friendly coral. Paige stared at the woman. Blank.
"Ah, hello? Something wrong?"
"Does that woman seem odd to you?" Paige pointed at the flight attendant, who surreptitiously rubbed her stomach before forcing a smile.
Matt shrugged. "Plastic smile and too much make-up. All in order to me."
The attendant hesitated at the gate, touched her stomach again, then hurried into the tunnel as the gate agent spoke into his microphone. The queuing passengers perked up, straightened their line.
The young mother holding her squirming toddler stepped forward. The child screeched. Passengers moaned. The mother tried to soothe the kicking boy before she entered the tunnel. Her mingled colors separated and peeled away from her body, dissipated above her head. Faded denim remained haloed around the child's tiny body. Paige's heart hammered.
The elderly couple hobbled forward, the woman leaning heavily on her cane as her husband showed the attendant their papers. Their pale colors peeled away, floated and danced above their heads, then dispersed.
"We should get in line," Matt said.
Paige followed Matt between the ropes, attention riveted to the other travelers. She had seen colors intensify and fade, blend and separate, but never disperse. Yet as each traveler entered the tunnel, colors floated away. Persons with thick blue threads or silver flecks stumbled, as if their subconscious perceived the loss.
"Something's wrong. This plane mustn't fly."
Matt frowned. "Now why would you say such a thing?"
Paige raised her eyebrows, touched her bag. "Trust me."
The agent insisted the protesting business man remove his Bluetooth. He removed the device from his ear, then all his hues peeled away from his body. Paige watched his anger fade before the windows.
Paige pushed past Matt, stumbled to the gate agent. "You have to stop this flight."
Impatience flickered mauve before the agent said, "Thank you for your concern, ma'am. Why do you think something's wrong?"
"Please, sir. I...," she tried lamely, then settled for, "I have a bad feeling." She imagined him accessing his mental how-to-deal-with-complications checklist.
"We can book you on a different flight?"
Paige shook her head. "No, please, this flight can't take-off."
"Thank you ma'am for your concerns. Let me contact my supervisor." He shielded his mouth as he spoke into a walkie-talkie.
A high-pitched wail mixed with a screeching, "CONNOR!" The toddler burst into the terminal. His color intensified to indigo. Carnation pink swirled then enveloped the mother as she ran past.
"I don't believe this," Matt grumbled from behind her. "What now?"
Paige turned, noticed his scarlet fading to russet, thankful his temper obliterated his interest.
A man in a starched white shirt approached. "What seems to be the problem?" He added a placating smile. Paige figured a heart-felt appeal would be interpreted as hysteria. She inhaled through her nose, then exhaled slowly, taking the time to read his muted tones. He was a by-the-book guy.
"Please sir, could you just... check things? I have a bad feeling."
The supervisor stared, his stance as stiff as his collar. He gestured the gate agent, who then spoke into his walkie-talkie again. The monitor flashed, the flight information displayed "Delayed" rather than "On Time."
Another passenger emerged from the tunnel, his pallor confirming mumblings about feeling poorly. Paige watched a balloon of melon and taupe envelope him as he rushed past the queuing travelers toward the men's room. Paige saw Matt's aura blow to the side, as if the disturbed air currents detached it from his body. His colors collided and pooled with those of his line-mates, all unattached but lingering. The supervisor shouted to the sick man to stay put then mouthed to the gate agent where the hell is security?
The mother returned with her sniffling son. Connor chanted a no, no, no, no as snot leaked from his nose. He renewed his struggle, managed to slide out of his mother's grasp and ran to Paige, clutched her shin.
"CONNOR! Sorry ma'am." His mother tugged on his back. He clung tighter.
The gate attendant spoke into his microphone, informed the crowd that flight 6871 would recommence boarding after security checked the plane and thanked everyone for their continued patience.
A commotion within the tunnel quieted the crowd. Paige heard a female voice say, "Sir, Please!" as a male voice shouted "Whass takin' so long?"
A pilot stumbled into the terminal, followed by the attendant with no colors. He doubled over, balanced one hand on a bent knee, his other held his shoulder. Sweat poured off his temples and dark stains spread from his armpits. Security arrived. One guard shouted for the gate agent to call medical services, another ran forward and grabbed the pilot by the forearm. Matt rushed forward in a haze of raw sienna declaring, "I'm a healer, I can help!"
Security swatted Matt's hands aside and ordered him behind the ropes as medical personnel arrived. Paige heard the pilot say the whole world's azure as the flight attendant asked, is it his heart? The paramedics exchanged a look while the supervisor muttered, damn blue pill. Twelve hour minimum, Captain Stephen knows and the gate agent shook his head, repeating, so lucky they weren't airborne, so lucky.
Paige saw colors explode into the air, then fly inside the tunnel.
The toddler released her leg, allowed his mother to lift him. Matt swore his Reiki surpassed a defibrillator as the gate agent's coral mutated into a golden-orange tone of self-control.
Toronto can wait Paige thought, then walked through rainbows to the exit.