A short recap of who we are, and how we came to be.
As a child, Janah witnessed an abusive man hit his wife and start to slap his son. She intervened, even though she was just near nine years old. He pushed her down and drove away.
Janah has a strange powerful brain, it remembers anything she wants, at a glance. It enabled her to reach out for someone, someone she could rely on unequivocally, to be an integral part of a process years in the making. She found me, with her mind. We both live in Manhattan, we did not know each other before I started getting glimpses, strands, then a voice, finally a complete image. We discovered we could communicate mentally. After a fair amount of learning and confusion, we are able to carry on conversations over any distance. We can also see though the other’s eyes, hear what the other hears. Scents and tactile sensations, not so much.
Eventually, we met, age twelve. Because of our unexplainable mystery, her parents decided to buy the condo directly above ours on Perry St. in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Her dad is a psychiatrist, her mom an artist. My parents are my birth mom, Susan Sylk and the only other parent I’ve known was her partner, Chris Fischer. Chris passed away, far too young, that’s the sad sorry way of it.
While none of us understands how we work, we work. Once we met in person, hugged, held hands, looked into, not through each other’s eyes, we have never spent a day physically apart.
Janah and I slept together the first night we met. No, not that kind of slept together, we were twelve. We did start intimacy when we hit fifteen. Sex with someone who knows everything you’re thinking and feeling is an experience that makes sex with other people kind of pastel. Pastel colors are pretty, but not as intense.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good, even superb.
Along the way, we began a process we call merging. Physically morphing into one entity. The Shaolin masters call us the two as one. The world sees two people, and we are two people, but internally there is one.
Janah’s so incredibly quick, and chock full of arcane information, I think sex is her mind massage. Whatever it is, it works for me. I like to give it up.
I am blessed with other unique skills. The skills includes sharply heightened senses. I am fast, quick, sudden. I can see distances and colors other people can’t, biologically bionic. Taste, smell, hearing are all off any known charts, for humans, mine are more animalish. While I inherited Sis’ long lean legs (I call my birth mom Sis, she had me at fifteen and we could pass for sisters) where the other bits originated I have no idea. Janah can experience some of those things if she is in my mind. They don’t flow over to her automatically. Neither does her eidetic memory to me. Fortunately, I can surf her brain and access all that data at will, my personal ethernet Google.
Janah and I spent from age twelve to fifteen at Chapmans school for girls, a few blocks from the condo. (Chapmans is a story all by itself, you will learn more about it as we go along, a lot of it is covered in more detail in Books I-VII.) Then, because I’d absorbed so much taekwondo from Master Kim, he suggested I enter the Shaolin Temple buried deep inside Chinatown. Since I don’t do anything without Janah, we both went. She’s not a martial artist, and wasn’t a student there, but was permitted, welcomed, when the masters discovered she not only speaks flawless Chinese, but knows Buddhism and the complex history of Shaolin backwards. She was also a gift to the temple as a chemistry, math, biology and botany teacher. A living Wiki Buddha. I became a gung fu master, and a priest and have the brands, tiger and dragon on my forearms to prove it. Shaolin temples don’t brand anymore, most say they never did. Branding is not recorded anywhere, but ours does, we are old, old style.
Now we are out in the world, well, mostly the world of Manhattan. We live in a condo we created on the top floor of Chapmans, our neighbor is the Headmaster, Lacy Chapman. Janah and Lacy became good friends while she attended school there, when we returned from being in the temple, she offered to let us build out an apartment next to hers.
We acquired a new companion, Nikko Murakami, who is now us, as in she eventually found she could communicate mentally with us. There were three, then four, along the way, we took in a ward, Amaya, one name. She used to be someone else. We removed her from that unfortunate situation, she was Janah’s ward, then Nikko adopted her. Over time, Amaya learned to mental with me, but not with Janah and Nikko. Perhaps she wants some mental distance from her mother and her instructor.
After the temple, Janah and I started working as Social Workers, no, not that kind. We work with an organization called The Society. The Society is a small group of ultra wealthy people who decided that the world is overrun with far too many assholes. Abusers, child predators, extreme bullies. The justice system, hahaha, is overwhelmed chasing around drug dealers and immigrants. Too many abusive punks get away with creating suffering with little in the way of consequences. The Society sends out Social Workers, sometimes called Social Skills, to give abusers a different perspective, to refocus them, enhance their social skills, to deliver consequences. Nikko and I are like Dominos, instead of pizza, we deliver consequences. If you are an abuser, you do not want to be brought to our attention.
The development of the Society folded in with Janah’s young experience of seeing a man strike his wife and go for his own child. The imprint on Janah’s sensitive brain never left. Me, what we became, what we do now, is the flow of that single flip of the butterfly wing. The thing that caused Janah to research the extent of spousal and child abuse here in good old freedom and justice America. You can find the statistics online, they’re ugly. And those are reported cases, multiply by two, three, or more for a more accurate count of sheer vicious brutality.
Child Abuse Stats
FYI, when we are mentaling, those conversations will be in italics, we can hear us, you can read us, other people can’t.
One last prep note. Janah and I discovered we have unusual DNA, proteins that normally lose their ability to combat aging don’t deteriorate in us. At least not so far. We’re biologically mid twenties and have been for a decade or more. We are also able to pass along those proteins to our immediate and extended family. So my mom, Janah’s parents, Lacy, Nikko, Amaya and a few others have ceased to age.
We don’t know if the markers will fail at some point and we start to age normally. And the proteins do not protect against fatal disease or accidents. We can die from those things like anyone else.
At the end of Book VII, Amaya and Taylor were creating a fashion, style and makeup class at Chapmans. Considering Taylor’s day job is fashion model, and Amaya has a genius for the subject, by the end of the first semester, they have the girls’ moms wanting another class after school, for them.
I ask, “So what are you going to do?”
Taylor, “Gosh, they were so enthusiastic, I couldn’t turn them down. We agreed on once a week. I’m hoping it morphs into less often, we’ll see. Maybe they’ll get tired of it.”
“Chapmans gets new students every year, so you may wind up with new mothers wanting to participate.”
Amaya, “It will be fun. I’m betting some of the girls will want to sit in on the class with their mothers. We are not focusing on the same things. The clothes and accessories will be for women, not girls. We have to come up with things for a different generation. Moms will not be going with glitter nail polish, not to mention short skirts and bolder mish mash of contrasting colors the girls like.”
“So, in a way, it’s a whole different class?”
Taylor, “Yep. Kids can be more experimental, moms want to look good, without the same flash. It’s not going to be a class in boring. Just not as outrageous as I can do with girls. Chapmans starts in seventh grade, so the mothers are mostly over thirty. Many are also professionals. We’re going to focus on getting the makeup right, hair cut and color suggestions if needed, stylish elegance, fun casual.”
Amaya, “Some also need a bit of encouragement to tone down accessories. I am not a fan of gigantic belts, garish shoes and baubles the size of dinosaur eggs. Accessories should be a flattering accompaniment, not make them look like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.”
I laugh, “You’ll have to figure out how to gently pry off the quazillion carat rings.”
Taylor, “Most of them aren’t too bad. We will convince them that too much is a distraction from their personal appearance and style. They aren’t supposed to look as ridiculous as the models on the runway. The point of the runway is primarily to make a statement, an outsized presentation of a designer’s theme. It isn’t what you’re to actually put on your back to go out, even to a high profile occasion. We are about elegance, not a paparazzi shootout at the Grammys. Some of the stuff I see on Hollywood females is one step away from Elvis or Liberace. To get a free dress, they sell their souls, and their appearance, to a deranged designer.”
“Are you charging?”
Amaya, “A gentle reminder to donate to the school.”
Amaya, “I am also going to bring accessories from the Jamaicans, their stuff is a hit with the girls. Moms might be rich, but everybody likes a bargain. What Juju charges is a pittance of what they’d pay in a store. They bring the stuff to the school, then Taylor and I pull out things we want, Juju tells us the price, we don’t mark it up. He’s had to increase inventory, sales are excellent. The mothers will probably double that.”
“Another good call.”
Taylor, “I’ve got to get home. Susan and I are going to dinner with James and Kara.”
“Have fun,” she leaves, which reminds me I need to think up a dinner plan for us.
“What are you guys in the mood for?”
Amaya, “Fried fish, macaroni and cheese, I’ll make a warm spinach salad.”
Janah, “Sounds yummy, I’m going to surf and anticipate, perhaps a glass of Cabernet to fortify me.”
Nikko settles on the couch with a book, Janah taps away at the other end, Amaya makes herself a vodka rocks with an onion, dash of Angostura. In an hour we have plates of fried catfish, mac and cheese.
Janah, “Good job on the spinach Amaya,” she has the vegetarian version, it skips bacon and substitutes spicy fried mock duck..
It’s a simple recipe, fry the bacon, add olive oil to the bacon grease, crumble the crispy bacon. Add sherry vinegar, a little nutmeg, warm the spinach in the mixture, not wilted, just warm. Slice hard boiled eggs over the top, sprinkle Parmesan, enjoy.
By eight, we’re fed, while they watch something or other on Netflix, I make chocolate and vanilla ice cream cones, then deliver them.
Janah, “Yay, just what my heart desired.”
“What’s on? I see Kevin Spacey.”
Amaya, “Catching up on the Netflix series, House of Cards. Apparently, politicians spend all their time conniving to demolish other politicians.”
“Seems to be the case.”
Nikko, “It’s the case with so called leaders in every country.”
We finish two episodes, ten thirty, time to crash. Janah and Nikko go one way, Amaya and I the other.
Amaya, “I have needs.”
She slips off her t-shirt, leans over her desk, “Put your tongue to use.”
I kneel, run my hands over firm smooth tush, use my finger to tease, then use my tongue to thrill it.
Amaya, “Geez that feels good, I sense you are fond of it.”
“I’m fond of anything that involves me licking you.”
Amaya, “I want the rest, there is a toy in the nightstand, do me anally.”
I’m equipped, she kneels and wets it with her mouth, strange, seeing her there with my fake cock in her mouth. It’s butt size, not a schlong.
Amaya, “On my knees sucking your dick,” she giggles.
It feels good to me as well, not the suck part, it’s latex, it also vibrates, feels gently tingly on my clit.
She lubes it, stands and bends over the desk again, I do my duty to her beauty booty.
Amaya, “Ooooh, yessss, go slow, slide back and forth, criminey….aaaahhhhhh, I get the most delicious orgasm, a buttgasm, who knew?”
Lying in bed now, she says, “And now, something for you…and me.”
She rolls over on me, drifts down until I see her lovely eyes looking up at me from between my legs. Subsequently, I see stars, then a supernova.
For readers who may not know, Mrs. Epstein and Dr. Epstein are longstanding family friends. Dr. Epstein and Janah’s dad, James, who I call dad as well, was James’ psychiatry instructor in medical school. Recruited to lend his considerable diagnostic skill to his hospital, James agreed to a consulting diagnostician role, he didn’t want to be on staff and have to take every patient that came along. He also maintains a private practice. He’s picky about private patients, doesn’t do analysis in the psychoanalysis sense, he thinks Freud’s main contribution was recognizing unconscious drives. That they are all related to repressed sexual desires about mom or dad he finds ridiculous, says more about Freud than Freud’s patients.
Janah’s mom is a rather well known artist, a magician with color and design. She paints her work by staring at a blank canvas until she sees the entire piece exactly as it will appear before she’s mixed a color or lifted a brush.
Janah says she paints the picture before she paints it and the actual painting is like putting the paint on a picture she already sees, like tracing. Finished, it has a three dimensional quality, like she’d pasted three dimensional objects to the work. Except she didn’t. It’s two dimensional paint on canvas, but you’d swear otherwise.
James made his family wealthy, Kara made them quite wealthy. Her last round of works sold for a low end of six hundred thousand per. Due to her method, she might stare at a canvas for a month or longer, works dribble out at six to eight per showing, and were bid on based on minimum bids of half a million. Next round the price is going to three quarters.
Chris turned over ownership of her condo to Sis, easily a five million dollar price tag today. Janah’s folks own the one upstairs and there are two more. Sis bought them both over the years and leases them. The rent, seven thousand a month each, pays taxes, maintenance and a healthy income. We own Chris’ taekwondo school and the building it’s housed in. Sis makes two million a year, sometimes much more in bonuses and stock options, as a network security consultant. One year, her options turned into multiple millions. A few years ago we’d entered into a partnership with Mrs. Fong, the Epsteins, Nikko’s mom and dad, Kara and James and bought a fifty million dollar building in Chinatown. It has retail, warehouse and office space.
It didn’t happen overnight, but Janah and I were never poor and now we’re rich. All Susan’s property, the taekwondo building, the condo and the rental condos, our share of the Fong partnership, is now in the Sylk Trust. We get all the property income since Sis makes wads consulting. She doesn’t spend much on anything, too busy working. She lives in a five million dollar condo, doesn’t own a car, has no debt of any kind. Janah and I absorbed the debt on the Fong partnership, and the debt on that is serviced by the leasing income. Susan has something approaching seventy million in her brokerage account. Janah and I own some thirty million in property and income of near a million a year, plus the money we’d snatched from two drug lords, over two hundred million, which originally funded the Sylk Trust. None of that includes assets Janah controls at the temple, another hundred million. That money, and the income on it, doesn’t flow to us, it’s strictly to support the temple and two schools Janah set up in the temple’s name.
When Nikko moved in, she was supported by us, then went to work for Mrs. Fong as building manager. She did well, Mrs. Fong, who is up in years, way up, began farming out her other property management to Nikko. Now she makes a quarter million a year doing something she would do for nothing if we asked her to. When she first moved in with us, we compensated her in sex. She said she was overpaid.
Nikko’s a worker bee, meticulous in the extreme and, to the obnoxious, mean as a snake. Her father, Hanshi Murakami taught us kendo, and made us earn every advance in rank, still works us like dogs once a month. We practice at home religiously. You don’t want to face Hanshi with a poor performance, it gets ugly. Well, it gets ugly for me, he thinks Nishiko is the Kendo Princess, I’m the ugly stepsister. Can’t blame him. I’m good, but Nikko was born to the sword. I can take her in every one of our martial arts except kendo. And she keeps right behind me in the others, most annoying, but then, I trained her. She regularly makes me a victim of my own success.
In case you’re wondering, and this is the sex part so of course you’re wondering, we don’t have rules about intimacies. When Chris was alive, she had occasional pickups when she and Sis went out to clubs. She was a muscular woman, not a freak-out bodybuilder, more like a fitness girl. Prim little lezzies loved it.
When Amaya came along, she was too young, then, as will happen, she got older. Amaya seduced me, sort of, I don’t take much seduction.
Taylor came into Chris and Susan’s life at first because of Chris, then she and Sis started up. Now, Taylor lives with Susan.
Our only rule is, if you find an available girl and are both in the mood, go for it. We’re lesbian, queer (I dislike gay, it’s too….gay) we aren’t getting anyone pregnant, we don’t procreate, we’re playing. No falling in love, we don’t care for the word, find it primarily manipulative and doesn’t mean anything past hormone spikes. We also don’t ask anyone to buy into our philosophy. You want to make yourself and everyone else miserable with your list of behavioral requirements, go for it.
Enough update, intimate and otherwise. Those of you who have slogged through my other books are familiar, maybe even tired of it. Although I have trouble imagining anyone tired of my sexual exploits, but it takes all kinds. And, surely, people who fume or faint at the idea of lesbian haven’t read this far.
Besides, we aren’t just about personal intimacy. We also play hard with the maladjusted, perhaps more to your taste. I’m not here to judge...unless you're an abuser.
We are students of qi, pronounced ‘chee’ which is sometimes called life force. You may or may not believe in it. Fortunately, belief doesn’t matter. You have it, a rock has it, the universe is suffused in it, a constant ocean of energy. Like a fish is surrounded by water, you are surrounded by qi. Some of us have been able to tap that energy and focus it. Learning to do so is time consuming, tedious and depending on your intent, may limit its availability to you. In other words, to access powerful energy beyond yourself, you have to let go of yourself. That prospect sounds nicely spiritual, but letting go of self scares people, so they don’t.
Intent doesn’t mean good intent or bad intent. Qi doesn’t care what your intent is, only that you have intent, it can be used for good or evil. Electricity doesn’t discriminate about who gets the energy, only that the line it runs through doesn’t offer too much resistance.
Some qi masters are also unfortunately hugely troublesome, use the energy to control others for their own purposes. People believe that letting go of yourself automatically means universal peace and compassion for all living things. Such beliefs are misguided. All letting go does is allow access to the universal energy flow, compassion is not the subsequent default state. Most people with the capacity to take it that far use the energy for its physical and mental health benefits. Some, however, either have their minds damaged in the learning process or started with bad wiring in the first place. They can access the source of energy, but use it for power and personal gratification only.
We used to call them Dark Ones. We changed to Shadows. Shadow is more descriptive, it implies dark, but also suggests inauthentic, an image, outline, of a person, not a person. Shadows, like shadows, have no feeling for anyone, they can float right over and blot them out. We learned of a few Shadows during our time in the temple, then ran across some, live and in person. Subsequently, we discovered there are far more wreaking havoc than we thought, not like sociopaths which are four percent of the population. Shadows are far fewer, but it’s like nuclear power versus dynamite. Sociopaths are dangerous, and, like dynamite, it’s better to avoid lighting the fuse. Shadows are explosive and radioactive. Having personal power over minds is intoxicating, you can imagine. Suppose, by thought alone, you're able to convince people to give you money, sex, their children, with no repercussions, little or no threat of being found out, no penalties. How many of you could resist using it for self gratification?
My vow to the Shaolin requires me to eliminate them, by whatever means necessary, at any personal cost. That includes death, theirs or mine.
How do we know we are using qi for good? The guidelines are simple. Do we profit? Do we create suffering? Do we reduce or eliminate it? Is what we do with it necessary or unnecessary for the relief of suffering?
Janah is sensitive to those questions. It grieves her to take a life for any reason. She also understands that real compassion is facing the fact that you sometimes have to cut off a finger to save the hand. Killing a rabid dog is both compassion for the next potential victim and the dog. Both suffer by the animal’s continued existence. The trick is to determine whether the dog is incurable, or merely temporarily sick. That’s Janah’s job and we generally leave those decisions to her. Once she decides, we carry out the sentence. We could philosophize all day and into the night while nobody’s suffering is relieved, the rabid dog continues to maim and kill.
Ultimately, she decided hand wringing over the fate of a human who doesn’t think twice about using, abusing or killing another, was philosophical self indulgence. Designed to abdicate her from hard decisions. If we are in the business of making abusive pricks face the consequences of actions they initiated, it makes sense only to decide what level of intervention is required. How much is enough? She will never be happy about it, she also knows her happiness is not what this is about.
The phone rings, Janah looks at the number, I can see it’s Mrs. Epstein.
Janah listens, I catch the conversation, “Hello dear. We have a plain vanilla abuse case in Pennsylvania. Bit of difference, this hubby is a cop. From our standpoint, the rules aren’t different for the police. Just be aware that he’s legally armed, and he’s killed before, once. Appears to be a legitimate line of duty shooting, but he also has a couple of excessive force complaints. He’s had no demotions, no repercussions, internal reports exonerated him.”
Janah, “We have cop friends. I trust them and I don’t. An internal investigation is meaningless, no cop is going to come down on other cops. They live in a nasty world, and some of the stink inevitably rubs off. I presume the Society has investigated and found cause to believe this is no misunderstood civil servant.”
“He’s beating his wife, we have enough proof to be satisfied. They don’t have kids, one relief. His wife is no charmer. She’s no shrinking violet, has a mouth, but we don’t subscribe to the theory a women ought to get bludgeoned because she calls an asshole an asshole. They can verbally assault each other all they want, maybe they get off on it. In this case, she verbally assaults, he physically retaliates.”
“If she’s provoking him knowing the consequences, why do we care?”
“Good question. Maybe we don’t. Can you go down to Scranton and see if you can get a better handle on it? Surveillance has tapes of arguments, she starts in on him when he shows up drunk, which is frequently. He makes routine excuses, the pressure of the job, need to make overtime, the usual cop ‘poor me’ crap, like somebody is forcing him stay in the job. She complains he’s not meeting her needs, his lack of attention to their marriage, blah, blah, blah. More and more frequently, it leads to her bloody nose, busted jaw, bruised or broken ribs.”
“Geez Mrs. E. I don’t know if I want to tie up my people on a woman who intentionally provokes a fight with a violent man. We help the innocent, no question. A woman so stupid as to wave a red flag in front of an enraged bull, who cares?”
“I agree. That’s why we want you to investigate. Surveillance has only been able to come up with audio of the dance. And, on review, it appears to be just as you surmise, a hardheaded woman provoking a man she knows can only respond violently. Why people poke a stick at a poisonous snake is an ongoing mystery, but they do. If that’s the case here, we pull back and leave the two to self destruct.”
Janah hangs up, “Daphne, please go to the site and get details, names and location. Surveillance will have gotten his routine by now, it will be posted.”
I pull up the data, read it through, that puts it in the other three minds. We fire up the caffeine machines and sit around the table reviewing.
“Detective Anthony Morone, wife Sandra, married two years, no children. Wife is a hairdresser. Detective Morone is second generation cop, father retired a year ago. He was Captain of Criminal Investigation, his son promoted from patrol to Detective after three years, a little nepotism. Morone’s mother passed away, dad still lives in town.”
Nikko, “What about the wife’s family?”
“Let’s see, Sandra Morone, born Sandra Solano, could be Spanish, Basque or even Italian. Father deceased, mother lives with a sister in upstate New York, two brothers, neither in Scranton.”
Janah, “So, no family near, may not even be close to them. I’m checking the family out to see if we can figure out why she puts up with getting beaten by Morone. There’s no child, she has a portable job, no family ties in the area. Why is she still there?”
Amaya, “Let me call the sister, I’ll think of some pretext as to why I want to find Sandra. Has the family lived there for a while?”
“Not in the Surveillance report. Contact them and get a history of the Solanos of Niagara Falls.”
Amaya calls, we vegetate and ingest caffeine. Surveillance kicks back an update in fifteen minutes, dang they’re good.
Amaya, “Theresa Solano, sister, Maria Solano mother, two brothers, Sal and Javier live elsewhere in New York State. One brother is a postal worker, the other has a small trucking company. Theresa Solano makes money the old fashioned way, prostitution.”
Nikko, “Interesting. The original report has a note about Sandra getting busted for solicitation in Scranton, case dropped”
Janah, “Yep, six weeks before the marriage of the happy couple. Getting a sense of this?”
“She gets busted by then patrolman Morone. She looks good, they swap lies, charges evaporate, on to marital bliss.”
“Good enough guess. She takes up cosmetology, he’s working his way up the ranks, vine covered cottage. What went wrong?”
“Maybe Amaya can find out by calling her sister.”