“What can you see, Akbar?” said Miss Jewel.

“It’s quite hazy,” he said.

“It will be initially. Please concentrate on Monika. Tell me what you can see.”

Akbar gave Monika his full attention. “I see a body, about one inch thick, all the way around her.”

“Good,” said Miss Jewel. “And what else?”

“Then a thicker body, about a metre wide, enclosing her, like an egg.”

Good, she’s well protected, thought Miss Jewel, and then said, “Yes, go on.”

“There are other bodies too,” he stopped to focus. “They’re not too clear. Quite thin ones, like layers. I can see three or four of those.”

“Well done,” said Miss Jewel. “You’re making progress. And returning to our question, do you feel that the perception of auras is a spontaneous act, or one that can be improved with practice?”

“I think it’s something that can improve with practice.”

“Yes, keep up the good work. And now, your turn Monika. Look closely at Akbar. What do you see?”

“I can’t see any shapes, really,” said Monika.

“Well, what can you see?”

“I see colours. I see mainly green around him; a glowing green, kind of like sherbet. The top part is bluish, and the bottom part is mixed with yellow, I think.”

“Very good,” said Miss Jewel. “Is there anything else?”

“Yes, there’s some patches of orange,” Monika squinted. “But they’re hard to make out; when I look at them they disappear.”

“Great, well done. What you are seeing are Akbar’s thoughts and feelings charging the space around him. Let’s try someone else now. How about you…” But just then the school bell rang. “Ok class. Thanks for your efforts today. I know this isn’t an easy subject. Keep practising at home. See you all next month.”

Miss Jewel loved teaching this class. She’d wanted to teach school children about auras for years, but the Education Board had pretty much laughed her out – even though she often saw them at The Lotus, buying spiritual gifts and books about sexy vampires. Bloody hypocrites, she thought. So it was great when the International School set up in Lucerne. They had lived up to their promise of a “broad, progressive, global syllabus” and though she only taught Psychic Studies once a month, awareness was growing. She also taught “regular” Religious Studies and English Literature.

She was on a one-year contract. That was the problem with private schools – less job security. And she wasn’t really sure how it was going. English Literature was pretty straightforward. Everyone accepted it was a subjective area – a matter of opinion. Religious Studies was trickier though, in a land where people now defined themselves as “spiritual not religious”. They believed without belonging, and accepted that there were many paths – you just had to find the one right for you (except some paths, of course, that were clearly evil).

Psychic Studies went further, teaching that everything was a matter of direct personal experience. Numinous perception. And this is where the problem lay. She wasn’t sure whether everyone was able to see things like auras – in the same way that not everyone could sing opera, or dance salsa, or eat snails. Sure, they could be persuaded to see them – but then were they authentic? Their “auras” could be caused by stress-migraines, or visual disorders, or eye fatigue. In fact, with the amount of time people spent staring at screens these days, it was amazing that everyone didn’t see auras. Her hope was to teach at least half the class to see hidden dangers, such as vampires.

So many things were still unknown about auras. The main question was whether everybody had one, or just particular people. In sacred art of every faith, holy persons’ haloes symbolized auras; but it wasn’t just Jesus, Buddha, and Vishnu – it was also their companions. Maybe auras were contagious, and would eventually illuminate everyone. There was also the question of internal and external auras. Miss Jewel thought of internal auras as chakras, or the traffic lights of your soul. Some said that external auras had unlimited “skins”, initially embodying your individual manifestation, and easing into the universal soul.

Akbar saw Monika in the hallway later. She was on her way out of school. “Hey cutie!” he called out. “I liked the look of your aura.”

“And yours wasn’t bad either,” she said, raising an eyebrow. “Very shapely!”

“Did you notice Miss Jewel’s?” said Akbar.

“How could you miss it? So fiery. And hey, keep your orange spots to yourself next time.”

Akbar smiled. “Do you think she’s seeing Mr. Cooper tonight?”

Miss. Jewel’s class was more advanced than she realized. Many of them saw auras clearly; they just didn’t want to show off in front of her.  To avoid vampires it was good to keep these things quiet. They knew that Miss Jewel was not a Sanguinarian – a drinker of blood; but she was a psychic vampire – who fed on others’ energy to balance her own deficiencies. Miss Jewel always chose her prey carefully. Tall, handsome, nerdy, and vulnerable. She dated them for a year and sucked the life right out of them. Poor Mr. Cooper had no chance. Neither did Mrs.Cooper.


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