Title: The Claires
Author: C. L. Gaber
Publisher: Big Picture Media
Publication Date: December 10, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Four beautiful girls. Quadruplets. They are not identical. But each is named Claire.
Claire V is Clairvoyant—clear seeing with visions of the future.
Claire S is Clairsentient—clear feeling as she embraces another’s pain.
Claire A is Clairaudient—clear hearing to tap into the spirit world.
Claire C is Claircognizant—clear knowing with 100% accuracy.
Born in 1911, they first died together in 1928 at age seventeen. Two months later, they were reborn. And reborn. THE CLAIRES only live to seventeen and then they’re violently murdered. Somewhere in the world, a woman finds out she’s pregnant with quads. The Claires return to a new family as they try to break a curse that guarantees they die young.
It’s current-day Los Angeles, and once again, their seventeenth birthday is looming. Can they save themselves, clean up the streets in the name of penance, and crash their own prom?
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
A SENTIENT’S STORY: S
The noise rose from the scratched wood floors, bounced off the oatmeal-colored cinderblock walls, and reverberated like an entire marching band gone AWOL inside my head. It was unbearable—like a herd of wild rhinos stomping over every inch of grey matter. Like those beasts were auditioning for “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The racket of pandemonium was why I always sat in the farthest reaches of that hideous room, the worst in any high school. It was why my head was currently pressed to the coolness of that long, faux-wood table that contained the fingerprints of youth long since passed. It provided a surface for so many cold tater tots, greasy slabs of meatloaf, and raw human emotions that were served up daily.
A mental institution? No. It was our high school cafeteria.
Lunchtime at Santa Monica High and time to break bread (although no one ate carbs anymore) with your friends, crushes, enemies, formers (as in loves), and the rest of the peeps that fell somewhere between “adored them” and “wanted them run over by a city bus.”
For me, the one they called S, the hour-long feeling fest went on (and on) five days a week, over culinary delights served on orange plastic trays as if the shocking color might stun us into some sort of decency. If only it was just the food that caused the pain. Today’s offering was your typical gray slab of tofu pretending to be meat surrounded by steamed kale that had given up its will to exist and all of the above was decorated with slices of brown-green avocado. Welcome to California. I couldn’t eat, and not just because of the dismal menu.
Things went just a little bit deeper here for yours truly, which was typical for someone like myself who was born with clairsentience, or clear feeling. In case you get the question on Jeopardy someday, and I feel that you might, I have the ability to experience the emotional energy of others in an intuitive way and then absorb it into my own system.
But, first things first.
Claire S, nice to meet you. Genetically, I inherited yellow daffodil hair and sapphire eyes from a mystery source. I did manage to snag my original parental unit Lula’s long, lean frame, hatred of green beans, and the ability to feel the present, past, or future emotional states of others. It’s an awful, awful gift, thank you for that, mother dear.
This is what you will never read on my permanent record in this realm: As previously discussed, I can sense other people’s feelings while experiencing another’s deepest emotions as if they are my own. If you want to get fancy about it, it’s called psychic sensing. I can feel things about people and places, all the while draining myself of every ounce of my own personal energy while I tune in to the other being.
Clairsentients feel things—every little freaking second—so strongly and profoundly that we’re just-ran-the-marathon mentally exhausted after wandering into a large group of people with all their emotions popping.
Imagine taking on everyone else’s bad day, sad day, or day of joyous euphoria. It’s enough to make you long for your pillow and a week-long nap. For instance, right now, I’m crying actual tears and nothing remarkable happened to me this morning beyond fighting with my brother over the last of the breakfast cereal.
Each day, I eat lunch alone or with my sisters if they can manage to ditch their classes and find me. Most days, one of them finds me in mid-panic attack from what I’m absorbing. My hands sweat; my heart races. It’s not easy to make a cold compress out of soggy cafeteria napkins, but I do it.
My panic today concerns that sophomore, Carrie Armstrong, over there who had a knock-down this morning with her stepfather, Steven. I’m deeply tuned into her, which means I’m forced to feel her feelings as if I own them. Thus, it becomes our shared pain, our sadness, and our disappointment. And then it happens. A terrible stab of terror makes goose bumps rise on my arms. She/me have this strange fear that something even worse will happen later when she goes home. That’s just a hunch, but what is dead-on is the feeling of abject dread. What did her stepfather say to her in the driveway? If I think about it hard enough, it comes to me on playback and makes me cry. “You’re a throw-away child,” he told her. “You’re not even my real daughter.”
Body shaking tears comes to me in overlapping waves of emotions until I turn slightly to my left, gaze at another table and surf the next human mini-drama. The boy over there, he can’t afford college. His mom taunts him: “You were never supposed to amount to anything much, so what does it matter?” I look two tables over. There’s the other girl who tells her parents she was sexually abused by her uncle. Her Dad’s response: “You’re talking nonsense. Making shit up.” The back table. The girl with the pink hair who just buried her mother. Oh, poor baby. Grief begins to overwhelm me.
I can also sense the overall energy in the room, which today can be summed up as: Quiet desperation, served with brief period of joy and undercooked tater tots.
If you add the fact that this will be my last spring when it comes to drawing breath followed by my last summer and last fall — not that I’m dwelling on it–but, if you ask me, there’s not enough Kleenex in the world.