The Glow Boy
by Jewel Beth Davis
The boy sat on the red ladder-back chair. On the outside, he appeared to be an ordinary boy. The inside was something else. He glowed from within.
When Suzannah entered the bright room, she wasn’t sure if all the light was from him or partially from the primary colors used to decorate the kitchen. Her work was unique; she read auras and the inner glow some people gave off. She gauged energy.
She’d been called in by the boy’s Aunt Blooze to try to read the boy. Now, she knew why. This boy was far beyond needing to have his aura read. She suspected his gifts were far beyond her own psychic abilities.
She’d known Blooze for years. She was a member of the same Jubilee! Committee in Ashville. They were friends. Once in a while they had dinner together. Suzannah hadn’t seen her recently and then Blooze called.
“Come by and just see him. Just look and tell me what you see.”
“You know I never read people that young. The signs can be confusing.”
“I know, but I’ve had him checked out medically. He’s not deaf. He’s capable of making sounds and forming words. So it’s not anything structural.”
“And he understands and responds to every word I say. He’s very bright. I can tell.”
“Just look at him. Just a quick look, please. Don’t even read him.”
“Oh alright. Stop already. Just know that it’s intrusive when it’s someone that young, who has no choice. And the reading is usually not reliable.”
“I really need help. There’s no one else I can ask. The doctor already thinks I’m cuckoo.” Suzannah laughed. “And she’d be right.”
She didn’t need to mention to Blooze what doctors thought about Suzannah. Witch doctor and charlatan. But she’d been given a gift, and she wasn’t going to abuse or ignore it.
Blooze had taken Shan in when her sister and Shan’s father had been killed in an auto accident. He was exceedingly small for his age, which was three going on four. Suzannah could see his eyes barely contained all the light from within. The air around him seemed like the light particles that sparklers gave off on the 4th of July. He was both very old and something completely new. Suzannah wasn’t sure yet.
Shan’s leg was folded under his body and the other dangled off the chair, swinging far from the floor. “Blooze,” he said, his voice a soaring soprano. “Auntie Blooze, I know who this lady is.”
Blooze had asked her to come because the boy didn’t speak. Hadn’t spoken. Until now.
Blooze blanched and went stock-still, a frozen parody of someone who’s been turned to stone. It seemed she had exchanged places with Shan and she was now mute.
Suzannah smiled. “And who am I?”
“You’re the lady who was going to tell Auntie Blooze about why I didn’t talk.”
“Ah, well. You’re talking now so I guess I can go home.” Suzannah picked up her bag that was tie-dyed and covered in tiny mirrors.
“But don’t you want to know why?”
“I assume,” she said, “it was because you had nothing to say until now.” She tugged her thick silver mop of curls under the confines of her knit beret.
Blooze was moving again but still speechless. She came around the table and sat in the teal blue chair — rather, fell into the chair — her eyes glittering. She was not known for her long silences and it was a measure of her shock that she continued in this nonverbal state.
“No. It’s just that the pictures flash in my head and there are so many, I can’t make words.”
“Well, you’re making them now,” Blooze said. “How come?”
“The lady...” Shan said.
“Suzannah,” Suzannah prompted.
“Suzannah helps me control them. When she came, she slowed them down.”
Blooze looked at Suzannah with such gratitude it was like a palpable thing she could touch. Suzannah, who had never intended to leave, sunk into the yellow chair, removing her beret.
“Well,” she said. “I didn’t do it intentionally. But I’m glad if I helped.”
Shan slid off the red chair and scrambled up into his aunt’s lap. He threw his arms around his aunt’s neck and squeezed.
“Whoa, pardner!” Blooze said. “You trying to lynch your old auntie? Because you’re doing a good job of it.”
Shan giggled and loosened his hold. He turned to Suzannah. He looked at her carefully. Even though it was a gentle gaze, it ran deep. What could he see?
Suzannah felt naked. She fidgeted in her seat and ran her fingers through her coarse salt-and-pepper waves. Although she was generally a good person, she didn’t want him to see the blackness she harbored, that everyone harbored. The times she lied or thought ugly thoughts about someone. The times she slept with people she shouldn’t have.
She tried to cleanse her soul on a daily basis through meditation but that couldn’t erase the years of leftover personal sludge she knew she still retained. The Effluvium of the Soul, she called it. He was just too young to see what he would see.
“It’s not polite to read other people without their permission.”
“You were going to,” Shan said. He was right of course.
“Only because your aunt was concerned about you. You have no reason to do so.” Suzannah knew her defenses sounded lame. She, however, was an adult. Despite his obvious power, he was still a child. He had to learn about self-control. Otherwise, he’d be completely exhausted before he even started out. “Whatever it is you want to know, ask and I’ll tell you.”
He shook his head so strongly, the movement reverberated into his torso.
Blooze’s face reflected her confusion, dark brows knit together.
Oh, she really has no idea what she’s gotten herself into, Suzannah thought. No idea at all.
“Read? He’s reading people?” Blooze said. Her face tightened and her eyes went wide.
“I’ll explain later.”
Suzannah could tell that Blooze didn’t like the sound of this, but there was nothing either of them could do.
“But he’s alright? Right? He’ll be fine now. Right?”
“He’s talking now. So I guess that’s it.”
Ignoring Blooze, Suzannah spoke to Shan. “If it will help, I can come here once a week to work with you. To help you control the images. To teach you to erect a wall when you need it. Because you will need it now. Especially as you get older and interact more.”
Shan looked relieved. His face lightened and he smiled.
“Would you like that?” Suzannah said.
Shan nodded vigorously.
“Good. Then I’ll see you soon.” She rose and lightly brushed his hair that glowed like a halo. The touch was electric but not painful, just very powerful.
“You,” she said to Blooze. “Come with me.” They walked to the door together. She could tell that Blooze was in denial and wanted to stay there. But this was nothing to fool with. It could either be very good for humanity or horribly bad without the right guidance.
“Blooze, listen to me. Carefully. I don’t want you to worry. He’s a wonderful boy. He’s...”
“Why would I worry? What would I have to worry about?”
Suzannah grasped Blooze’ arm firmly. “Blooze, he’s very special. I’m talking, VERY, with a capital V. We have to find him help right away.”
“What do you mean ‘help’? I thought you said you’d come by to help.” They both looked back at the little boy staring at a blackbird just outside the window. The bird was frozen, his gaze on the boy.
“There’s only so much I can do, Blooze. And that’s very little in the scheme of things. I can’t believe I’m actually saying these words but we need to find the email address for the Dalai Lama. Pronto.”
Suzannah left quickly then, hurrying to her car before Blooze could stop her, before the explosion, when Blooze realized what Suzannah had just said.
Copyright © 2012 by Jewel Beth Davis