Heritance

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Chapter 5

"Mr. Silverstone, I am pleased to see you again. May I assume that you are here on behalf of my father?" Bitru asked as he stood from his place at the dining room table and offered his hand in greeting.

"It's a pleasure for me, as well, Mr. Rechin. And although I am here with your father's approval, I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily here on his behalf. I see my role as being more of an intermediary." Mr. Silverstone said as he shook Bitru's offered hand.

"I don't think I introduced my cousin to you on your previous visit. Please forgive my oversight and allow me to introduce my cousin, Brandton Keller." Bitru said formally.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Keller." Mr. Silverstone said professionally as he offered his hand to Brandton.

After a moment to register the surprise, Brandton stood from his chair and shook Mr. Silverstone's hand firmly as he said, "You can call me Brandton, if you like."

"Thank you, Sir." Mr. Silverstone said respectfully.

"We were just working on our homework for tomorrow's classes. Would you care to sit with us to discuss your business?" Bitru asked diplomatically.

"Yes. Thank you. This might take some time." Mr. Silverstone said seriously.

Bitru went back to his chair and sat down. Brandton noticed that Mr. Silverstone had remained standing and got the feeling that Mr. Silverstone was waiting for him to be seated, too.

After taking his seat, Brandton watched as Mr. Silverstone placed his briefcase on the dining room table, then took one of the seats across the table from them, sitting directly across from Bitru.

"Has my father spoken to you regarding his decision?" Bitru asked cautiously.

"No. After leaving you this morning, I talked with your father briefly to voice my concerns about the 'institution' that you were attending. Late this afternoon, your father contacted me, and mentioned that he had spoken with you. He voiced his concern that he isn't in a position to adequately evaluate your situation for himself and is unfamiliar with what alternatives might be available to you." Mr. Silverstone said carefully.

"May I assume that you have done some investigation into the alternatives?" Bitru asked seriously.

"I have done some preliminary research on the subject. However, it soon became evident that my efforts might be in vain if I were to make assumptions regarding your needs. Therefore, I came here to discuss the reasoning behind your decision to attend an American public school." Mr. Silverstone said professionally.

After a moment to consider, Bitru quietly said, "My primary reasons are two-fold. First, I sought an end to the isolation that I had experienced as an indirect consequence of my parents' vocations. Second, I wished to meet and possibly form some sort of bond with my cousins, to expand my sense of 'family'."

"How important is it to you to gain the experience of attending a public school?" Mr. Silverstone asked carefully.

Bitru briefly glanced at Brandton before saying, "I believe that I have gained more than enough experience for my liking."

"Very well. So, I take it from your listing of primary objectives that you would not be interested in receiving tutoring, in lieu of a public education." Mr. Silverstone stated, more than asked.

Bitru considered carefully before responding, "If those are the only two choices offered, I would accept tutoring, but not without a great deal of regret."

"If I may ask, what is it that you hope to gain from a more traditional classroom setting?" Mr. Silverstone asked calmly. It seemed to Brandton that Mr. Silverstone was asking the question as a stepping stone to a larger question.

"From an educational perspective, I would like to participate in the process of group problem solving and work amongst a group of peers so that I can gauge my academic progress against the achievements of others." Bitru said carefully, then added more quietly, "From a personal perspective, I believe that I would like to experience what it is like to be 'included'. I would like to feel empowered, knowing that I am part of something bigger than myself."

"From your limited experience today, do you feel that there is any possible way you might be able to achieve those goals in a public school setting?" Mr. Silverstone asked in an almost leading tone.

Bitru considered for a long moment, then carefully answered, "I believe that with more time I might be able to give you a more complete answer. But given limited consideration, the only way that I can see that I might be able to achieve any of those goals in a public school setting might be for me to join a gang. Any other choice would leave me in a situation where I would be powerless and subject to intellectual atrophy."

"After a limited amount of investigation, I have found no evidence to dispute your assertion. Therefore, can we say for the sake of argument that the question of you continuing with public education has been taken off the table?" Mr. Silverstone asked calmly.

"Would my agreement remove the possibility of Brandton being included in our future plans?" Bitru asked carefully.

"No. We are discussing options. I simply wanted to remove the least viable option from consideration before we discussed the merits and flaws of other, more appealing, options." Mr. Silverstone explained patiently.

"On the condition that my acceptance does not exclude Brandton from our future plans, I will agree that we should not consider local public education to be an option." Bitru said consideringly.

"Very well. As I see it, the next, most straightforward alternative would be tutoring. It would be possible for both you and your cousin to receive instruction in a variety of subjects that not only fulfill your educational requirements but would be flexible enough to incorporate whatever interests the two of you might have." Mr. Silverstone said carefully.

"While preferable to public education, it does not adequately address the issues that brought me to America to begin with. We would be sequestered from others with little likelihood that we might be able to form relationships with a variety of people with points of view differing from our own." Bitru said seriously.

"Are you guys deciding something about me?" Brandton asked cautiously, not entirely sure that he was understanding correctly.

"Mr. Rechin is being careful to assure that the options that we will be considering will also be able to include you." Mr. Silverstone explained.

"That's right. Nothing is being decided at this point. Right now we're trying to decide what our choices are... and I wanted to be sure that, if you wanted to, you could be part of whatever we decide to do." Bitru explained.

"Oh, um, thanks." Brandton said timidly.

"The next option open to us would seem to be that of a private school. By all accounts, the educational standards are far higher than the 'institution' you visited earlier today." Mr. Silverstone said carefully.

"I will admit that I had considered that option. But I dismissed the notion when I recalled the few times I had met the products of such institutions. If possible, I would like to avoid being surrounded by people with ingrained pompous snobbery and a sense of entitlement. It would go counter to the values that my parents have worked to instill within me." Bitru said firmly.

"And they probably wouldn't let me into a place like that, anyway." Brandton added quietly.

"I can assure you that if we were to decide on that option, that we would be able to convince the school to accept you." Bitru said with certainty.

"I believe another option worth considering would be to assemble a small group of students and create our own educational environment, specifically tailored to your specifications." Mr. Silverstone said slowly.

Bitru looked at him with surprise, then slowly asked, "How might we be able to undertake such a project?"

"After witnessing the conditions at the 'institution' this morning, I took the initiative to do some investigation into the alternatives. One of the things that I have found is that there are others who share your concerns. While they haven't taken action themselves, they expressed interest in an alternative to the educational programs that are currently being offered." Mr. Silverstone said carefully.

"Um, I don't get it." Brandton said cautiously.

"As a consequence of my work, I have become acquainted with several foreign diplomats. I made a few inquiries of those that I knew had children. Those few who have their children here, have voiced their displeasure with the educational offerings. The remainder have made arrangements for their children to be educated abroad, to assure that they receive a proper education." Mr. Silverstone explained.

"So it's not just our school? I didn't know that." Brandton said honestly.

"From my limited investigation, the failure appears to be systemic. For that reason, the establishment of our own institution of learning might prove to be the better option." Mr. Silverstone said frankly.

"That sounds like something that could take a long time to set up." Brandton said consideringly.

Bitru looked at his cousin with surprise at the statement, then turned to Mr. Silverstone and nodded his agreement.

"There is a structure available for our use, should we decide to proceed with this course of action. I have already received tentative approval, pending our request for its use." Mr. Silverstone said carefully.

"So, you've got an empty school building for us. But we're going to need teachers." Brandton said thoughtfully.

Bitru smiled at his cousin, happy to see that he was willing to be involved in their discussion.

"I have contacted a qualified teacher who is willing to act as a tutor regardless of which greater decision we make. He will be teaching you tomorrow, whether it is here or in a more formal setting." Mr. Silverstone said seriously, then added, "Should we decide to proceed, more teachers will be recruited from around the world to provide you the best education possible."

"Wow!" Brandton said with astonishment.

"Indeed. Wow." Bitru said with a grin.

"May I conclude from your reactions that you are interested in this option?" Mr. Silverstone asked with a smile.

"Yeah! It sounds great!" Brandton said excitedly.

"I fail to see how this is significantly different from Brandton and I being tutored here, in his home." Bitru said thoughtfully.

"I can't say for certain, but I believe that if we were to present this possibility to the parents of a certain number of students, that they might jump at the opportunity to provide their children a better education." Mr. Silverstone said carefully.

"Which students?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"Who, of your classmates, would you like to see given this opportunity?" Mr. Silverstone asked simply.

Brandton's eyes went wide in surprise and he was unable to form an answer.

"Are you suggesting that we recruit a number of students from Brandton's school to populate our new school?" Bitru asked cautiously.

"I thought that Brandton might know who, among his classmates, might be willing to take advantage of an opportunity like this." Mr. Silverstone said honestly.

"Brandton, what do you think about Chris?" Bitru asked curiously.

"Um... He's a good guy. I like him. I think that if he got a chance like this, he'd probably take it and do something great with it." Brandton said thoughtfully.

"Do you know his full name?" Mr. Silverstone asked as he opened his briefcase and took out a legal pad.

"Christopher Belleau." Brandton answered simply.

"What about Nate?" Bitru asked hopefully.

"I don't think I've ever heard his full name." Brandton said apologetically.

"Perhaps, if you can tell me about him, I will be able to discover his identity." Mr. Silverstone suggested helpfully.

"He stated that he began attending the school two weeks ago. His first name is Nate and he is in our gym class. I believe that is all that I know about him." Bitru said uncertainly, then looked at Brandton with question.

"He's also taking French." Brandton offered weakly.

"Allow me to investigate. Perhaps I can locate him. Do you have any other classmates that you would like for me to locate?" Mr. Silverstone asked as he looked up from his notepad.

"There was a boy in our gym class, I never heard his name, the coach only ever referred to him as 'fat ass'. I don't know if he would excel academically if he were given the opportunity, but I feel that leaving him in that abusive environment would make me just as guilty of abuse as is Coach Lyons." Bitru finished quietly.

"His name is Lawson Fish. He used to get teased enough for that before Coach Lyons picked him to be the class punching bag." Brandton said frankly.

"How do you mean?" Mr. Silverstone asked curiously as he jotted down Lawson's name.

"From what I hear, the coach picks one kid out in each class to scream at. All year long he'll ride them and put them down in front of everyone. I guess that's how he gets his jollies. Some of the kids have changed schools over it and I heard that one even committed suicide." Brandton said seriously.

"How can something like that be allowed to continue?" Mr. Silverstone asked with a disbelieving shake of his head.

"His brother's on the school board, so he can do anything he wants. Just ask him, he'll tell you." Brandton said simply.

Mr. Silverstone quickly jotted down another note, then asked, "Can you think of any others that you would like to be invited to join you in your new school?"

"I believe that those are the only people I met today." Bitru said honestly, then looked to Brandton with question.

"Um, yeah. How many did you want?" Brandton asked Mr. Silverstone cautiously.

"As many as you can think of. Who do you think would take advantage of an opportunity like this?" Mr. Silverstone asked in return.

"Well, I don't know if they'll take advantage or not, but I guess my best friends at school are Dusty... I mean, Dustin Porter and Colin Ward. They're both really good guys." Brandton said thoughtfully.

Mr. Silverstone wrote down their names, then nodded for Brandton to continue.

"Does it have to be just guys?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"No. If you know of some girls that might do well in a more favorable environment, then please suggest them." Mr. Silverstone quickly responded.

"Emily... um, hold it. Let me think... Emily Travis? I'm not sure, but it's something like that. And her best friend is Christina Howard, but she goes by Tina." Brandton finished in a rush.

"Were those the girls who spoke to us at lunch?" Bitru asked curiously.

"Yeah. Most of the girls would rather cut off an arm than talk to a boy, but Tina and Emily are friendly to just about everyone." Brandton said with a smile at the thought of the two girls.

After waiting a moment, Mr. Silverstone quietly asked, "Is that all that you can think of?"

"There's one more, but I'm not sure you're going to want him." Brandton said carefully.

"Why is that?" Mr. Silverstone asked curiously.

"Last year, there was this guy in my class and we were kinda friends. I mean, we weren't like best buds or anything, but if we saw each other in the hall, we'd say 'hey' and we might sit together at lunch sometimes. But then, one day he showed up at school and he wasn't 'him' anymore. I don't know if it was the school or his parents, but they put him on some antipsychotics and stimulants and... I don't know all of it. I just know that whatever it was that made him Jack was gone. He was just an empty shell, after that. I don't know what happened to him. I haven't seen him yet this year. But if you can find him, maybe there's a way to get him back." Brandton said as tears welled in his eyes at the thought.

"Do you know his full name?" Mr. Silverstone asked quietly.

"Jackson Clemons." Brandton said as he fought to get his emotions back under control.

"I can't promise anything, but I'll do as much as I can." Mr. Silverstone promised.

"What about the students who were suspended for a PDA." Bitru asked quickly.

"Personal Data Assistant?" Mr. Silverstone asked cautiously.

"Public Display of Affection." Bitru explained with a smile of accomplishment, then turned to Brandton and asked, "Do you happen to know their names?"

Mr. Silverstone nodded as he prepared to write.

"Greg Ballard and Melissa, um... it's a weird name... Chesty... Chesney... Chesaning! That's it!" Brandton finally said with accomplishment.

"Thank you, Brandton. I am glad that you knew their names. I feel that they deserve something since they were punished for showing compassion." Bitru said honestly.

"Wait. So we're doing it? We're starting our own school? When did we decide to do that?" Brandton asked with surprise.

"As you are so fond of saying, 'What was our other choice?'" Bitru said with a smile.

* * * * *

"I believe that our next course of action should be to gain the permission of your parents to this arrangement." Mr. Silverstone said as he put his legal pad back into his briefcase.

"Don't you have to get a lot of things set up? You know, like the school and the teachers and... stuff?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"I anticipated your decision and have made all the arrangements. Once we have received permission from your parents, I will call my staff and tell them to proceed." Mr. Silverstone said as he stood.

"I guess we don't need to finish doing this homework, then." Brandton said in surprise as he also got out of his chair.

"Not unless your parents refuse." Bitru said frankly.

"Please, allow me to talk to them, first. I believe that I will be able to persuade them." Mr. Silverstone said confidently.

"Do you want us to wait here?" Brandton asked uncertainly.

"Yes. I think that would be best." Mr. Silverstone said honestly.

"Let us know how it turns out." Brandton said before sitting back down.

Mr. Silverstone smiled at the boys, then left the room.

* * * * *

"Do you really think that this is going to be better than going to our regular school?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"I believe that it has the potential to be everything that I had envisioned before coming here." Bitru said honestly.

"I just don't know if your vision is going to be something that I'm going to enjoy." Brandton said nervously.

"It should be precisely what you enjoy. If done properly, the education we receive should expose us to a variety of possibilities, then we will be free to pursue those things that most hold our interest." Bitru said seriously.

"If it's really like that, it sounds like it could be great." Brandton said honestly.

"We will make it like that. We will make it great." Bitru said firmly.

Brandton laughed fondly at Bitru, then said, "I really hope so. I've always dreamed about being able to break away from this... destiny."

"I forgot about Matthias!" Bitru said suddenly.

"What about him?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"He needs to be invited to our school, too." Bitru said seriously.

"Um... why?" Brandton asked hesitantly.

"He is our cousin. I came here not only to get to know you, but him as well." Bitru said urgently.

"I get that you want to get to know him. But it'd probably be better if you met him before you invited him to come to our school. He's kind of a dick." Brandton said frankly.

"He is our family. We don't have to like him. But we have a duty to accept him, regardless of how much of a dick that he is." Bitru said firmly.

After a moment to consider, Brandton quietly said, "I don't think we look at family the same way. From the way you talk about it, it means a whole lot more than just having relatives in common."

"Your family is there to support and defend you, even when you're wrong. When you've lost everything, your family is your refuge. And when you've gained everything, your family is there to keep you grounded." Bitru said passionately.

"When you put it that way, I guess having a family sounds pretty nice." Brandton said with a smile.

"Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is a burden that will break your back. But if you have a modicum of dignity or self respect, it is a burden that you will choose to bear." Bitru said firmly.

"You haven't spent a lot of time with our family, have you?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"We are direct descendents of the great Ermengarde of Lissus, we are all, in essence, her children." Bitru implored Brandton to understand.

"Should I know who that is?" Brandton asked cautiously.

Bitru was stunned into speechlessness for a moment, then reluctantly said, "Yes. You should."

Brandton gave a small, helpless shrug and Bitru hung his head.

* * * * *

Neither boy was able to do much more than watch the dining room door and wait expectantly.

Finally Mr. Silverstone walked into the room, giving no hint with his expression as to how his talk with Brandton's parents had gone.

"So, what's the plan?" Brandton finally asked hopefully.

"Your parents have agreed that both of you should be given this opportunity." Mr. Silverstone said simply.

"That's it?" Brandton asked dubiously.

"Yes. However, I must tell you, that in the coming days, we will need to make some extra preparations. Once your classmates have been recruited, we will need to get passports for all of you, so that you will be able to go on field trips." Mr. Silverstone said carefully.

"Field trips? To where? Why would we need  passports for that?" Brandton asked in confusion.

"It is too soon to outline specific plans. But if, for example, your class were studying something like the deforestation of the Amazon and its effect on the global climate, you might take a trip to South America to gain firsthand knowledge of the situation." Mr. Silverstone said calmly.

"Really? Seriously?" Brandton asked in amazement.

"That is something that I have not previously been able to do. I have traveled extensively with my parents, but we only went where their jobs took us." Bitru said with a smile, also seeming to be a bit overwhelmed by the prospect.

"You'll need to keep in mind that this is being done with the assistance of more than one foreign consulate. For that reason, it is possible that the children of foreign diplomats from various countries might also be joining your class." Mr. Silverstone warned.

"That reminds me, we had one other name to add to the list of candidate students to be recruited." Bitru said quickly.

Mr. Silverstone opened his briefcase and took out his legal pad before looking at Bitru with question.

"Matthias Keller. He is our cousin." Bitru said simply.

"If you ask my parents, they can give you my grandma Kellar's number. He's staying with her." Brandton interjected.

"That will be helpful. I will see to it that he is invited." Mr. Silverstone said seriously.

"He's older than we are. Is that going to be a problem?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"Not at all. I anticipate that you and your classmates will all prove to be performing at different grade levels. Initially, tests will be given to find out what you do know. Once those tests have been evaluated, we will endeavour to teach you what you don't know." Mr. Silverstone said with a smile.

"Are we going to need to dress up or... pack a lunch... bring gym clothes... or... what?" Brandton asked as his mind started to grasp the idea that he was going to be changing schools.

"Dress comfortably. A car will be sent to collect you in the morning at seven am. You will be provided snacks and a lunch. You might want to bring a notebook, so you can write down questions or take notes. Beyond that, I believe that everything else will be provided." Mr. Silverstone said professionally.

"So, it's just going to be the two of us?" Brandton asked to be sure.

"Yes. So far as I know. However, I have several colleagues awaiting my confirmation to proceed. It is possible that some, or I suppose all, of them might choose to enroll their own children as soon as tomorrow." Mr. Silverstone said thoughtfully.

"I can hardly wait!" Brandton said excitedly.

"Now, if you will excuse me, I will take my leave. I have a number of calls to make." Mr. Silverstone said as he put his legal pad back into his briefcase.

"Thanks for doing all of this for us, Mr. Silverstone. I never even dreamed that... well to be honest, I haven't dreamed about anything for quite a while now. Anyway, thanks for everything." Brandton finished shyly.

Bitru turned to Mr. Silverstone and said, "I share my cousin's gratitude and would like to add to it my promise that we will do our best to take full advantage of the opportunities you are providing for us."

"That's all I ask." Mr. Silverstone said simply, then turned to Brandton and extended his hand as he said, "Mr. Keller."

Brandton shook the hand, then watched as Mr. Silverstone turned to Bitru and said, "Mr. Rechin."

Bitru shook the offered hand as he met Mr. Silverstone's gaze.

Brandton couldn't put his feelings into words as he witnessed the expression of mutual respect.

* * * * *

"How are you guys doing? Does this mean that you're done with your homework for the night?" Warren asked as he walked into the dining room.

"Yeah. I guess so." Brandton said slowly, still having trouble comprehending all the changes.

"Well, since it looks like we have time, now. Why don't you guys put your coats on?" Warren asked with a smile.

"What? Where are we going?" Brandton asked in confusion.

"We're going to go visit your grandmother." Warren said a bit nervously.

"Will Matthias be there as well?" Bitru asked hopefully.

"Yes. And so will my brother, your Uncle Rance. I'm sure that they're both looking forward to meeting you." Warren said warmly.

"Why are we going over to grandma's house so late? What's going on?" Brandton asked suspiciously.

"Just put your coats on. We need to be going." Warren said before walking out of the dining room.

Brandton suddenly felt the temperature in the dining room beginning to fall.

"Do you think it will be acceptable for me to address Rance as Uncle? If I am not mistaken, he is technically my eighth cousin, once removed." Bitru asked anxiously.

Brandton stepped forward and pulled Bitru into a hug as he said, "Dad just called him your uncle. So, unless you're told to call him something else, I say go with it."

Bitru was quiet for a moment, but finally said, "Yes. Thank you, Brandton. I have been anticipating meeting my family for such a long time. It is difficult to believe that the time has finally come."

Brandton could feel the temperature in the room returning to normal.

"Are you coming?" Warren asked from the doorway.

"Oh! Yeah. Just a second." Brandton said quickly as he released Bitru from the hug.

* * * * *

Once they were all in the car and Warren had pulled away from the house, he quietly said, "Bitru. I had a long talk with your father before you arrived here."

"I didn't realize that." Bitru responded uncertainly.

"You're at an age... No. Let me start again. Your father mentioned that you had grown up isolated from other children. He said that you had started asking about going to a regular school. He also said that you concocted some pretty good arguments for reasons to come here." Warren said thoughtfully, as he drove.

"Yes. I suppose that I did." Bitru said quietly.

"The problem is, you're an only child and your father wasn't sure of what was the best way to handle... um, certain things. So while you were bugging your father to let you be around other kids, he located me and we talked and... well, that's how you came to be here." Warren said in a somewhat rambling meter.

"What things?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"I'll tell you about that when we reach your grandmother's house." Warren said evasively.

There was a long moment of silence, then Bitru met his uncle's eyes in the rearview mirror for an instant and quietly asked, "You know, don't you?"

"Yes, Bitru. In fact, that's probably the reason your father allowed you to come here at all. He wanted for you to be in a safe place where you could learn about things and adjust to them around others who are facing the same thing." Warren said frankly.

"You know what? What reason? What 'things'?" Brandton asked with irritation.

Bitru looked at his uncle in the rearview mirror with question, not knowing if he should try to explain.

"For now, let's just say that the members of our family are... different." Warren said carefully.

"Like how?" Brandton asked in confusion.

"You have mentioned being cold in my presence." Bitru said quietly.

"Yeah. I figured out that it happens when you're really nervous or afraid." Brandton said as he turned to look into the back seat and devote his full attention to his cousin.

"Oh. I'm sorry. I thought that I was controlling it better than that." Bitru muttered.

"I don't think anyone else noticed. It's just because I've been around you for just about every minute of the past twenty-four hours." Brandton said with a smile, trying to ease Bitru's discomfort.

"Don't beat yourself up over it, Bitru. That's normal for us." Warren said comfortingly.

"Us?" Brandton asked cautiously.

"Yes. Us." Warren said definitely.

"The members of our bloodline." Bitru said quietly.

"Not all the members of our bloodline. About one in four doesn't get it. But that one still carries it and can pass it on to their children." Warren said seriously.

"Bloodline? Pass what on? What do we have?" Brandton asked in confusion.

"I guess it depends on who you ask. Some call it a blessing, others a curse. There have been members of our family that have been burned as witches. Of course, others have risen to positions of great authority within the clergy. Some deny their gifts and others embrace them." Warren said distantly.

"What gifts?" Brandton asked irritably.

"I had actually hoped that I could put this off for a while longer, to give Bitru a chance to settle in with us. But after talking with Mr. Silverstone, I realized that this might actually be the best time to talk to you about it." Warren said as he spared Bitru a glance.

"Hey! Did I suddenly become invisible or something? What gifts?" Brandton demanded.

"Brandton, please calm down. Bitru isn't the only one who can let his power slip out. If you don't calm down you're going to cause a car accident." Warren said seriously.

"Power? What power?" Brandton asked in confusion.

Bitru reached up from the back seat and put a hand on Brandton's shoulder before saying, "I know little more than you do. We will have our answers shortly."

Brandton placed his hand on top of Bitru's and gave it a squeeze as he felt himself calming.

"We're just a few minutes away." Warren said quietly.

"Okay. I get that you won't tell me about... whatever this is. But Grandma Keller, Uncle Rance and Matthias are all going to be there, right? Does that mean that all of them have... whatever it is that we're talking about?" Brandton asked anxiously.

"Yes. And if your Aunt Kelly were here, she'd be included, too. But I think her girls are probably still too young to be brought into it." Warren said thoughtfully.

"Okay. I get that. And I get that you want to wait until we get to Grandma's house before you tell me everything. But, you just said that I was going to make you wreck the car because my power was slipping out. I didn't feel it getting any colder in here. What did you mean?" Brandton asked anxiously.

"I really don't want to tell you too much and take the chance of saying it wrong. Your grandmother has had to do this before and has a better idea of how to explain these things. But, to answer your question, at least a little bit, our abilities are passed down to us from our parents. Because Bitru's bloodline is eight generations distant from ours, his ability is understandably different. The members of a family tend to have either the same or very similar gifts." Warren said carefully.

"Okay. So I don't have what Bitru has. I got that." Brandton said thoughtfully, then asked, "But what do I have?"

As Warren brought the car to a stop, he said, "Ask your grandmother. We're here."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

Well, it seems that some of the questions I have had are about to be answered.

I knew that Bitru had some differences in his makeup, as well as his possibilities, but I had no idea what those differences might be. I can hardly wait to find out.

I am so glad that the kids that were kind to Bitru, and also some of Brandton's friends are being given the opportunity to improve their situations.

That school is certainly one enormous HELL Hole!

I do agree that the current public school situation in the United States is abysmal to say the least.

In a sense, I would have to call the ending of this chapter a sort of cliffhanger. At least there are still a lot of questions left unanswered.

Although this story is substantially different from other stories MM has written, I find myself extremely interested in knowing as much as possible about the family, and their differences and abilities, as well as their commonalities.

I hope it won't be too long before we see the next chapter.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher