CHAPTER ONE

High on a hill, overlooking a town called Brighton, sat a building named Cherry House. It was not a house though, it was a mansion. Most of the kids in Brighton were convinced the place was haunted despite its modern appearance. The entire front of the building was glass, but it was tinted so nobody could see in even had they wanted to. The mansion had three floors and was surrounded by a good few acres of land; the entry gate was at least a mile from the front door. Nobody really knew who lived there, a doctor of some kind but not a medical doctor. Most people in the town would have preferred that, there would have been less strange visitors to the mansion. The Doctor himself was rarely seen since his wife had died but he was definitely still in there. At least, the town thought he was.

On the second floor of the glass mansion was a study. It wasn't modern at all, unlike the rest of the house. The walls were lined with books; some were the old classics that the good Doctor insisted everyone in his employ read at some point. They were good for the soul, he often laughed. The carpet was lush and well cleaned and all the furniture was crimson leather and the desk Dr Posner reposed behind was a massive oak affair.

Dr Adrian Posner himself was a man of sixty seven with waves of white hair flowing back from a square jawed face, his eyes were a bright and burning green and they saw everything. This evening, he wore black trousers and shirt with a fawn coloured tweed waistcoat and red tie. He leaned back in his seat and flicked through the files on his desk, each one had a brief history and a photo inside. Posner sighed and glanced across the desk at the only photo he had on his desk, it showed a pretty blonde woman in a yellow summer dress. She was blowing a kiss at the camera and seemed to be having the time of her life.

"Oh, Cherry" sighed Posner. She'd been dead almost twenty years now but the loss still hurt as if it had happened yesterday. He closed his eyes and saw Cherry as she had been on the night she died; Posner just couldn't seem to remember her any other way. Her hair had been slicked to her face with sweat, her body crisscrossed with self-inflicted wounds. Lips twisted in a snarl as she pulled against her chains and screamed obscenities at him.

Posner snapped his eyes open and stood up, hurrying away from the desk to the large window at the front of the room. It was just starting to rain and the drops were running down the glass and distorting the world outside. He closed his eyes again and tried to remember past the chains and the snarls to their wedding day but it just wouldn't come. Posner sighed and straightened up, running a hand over a face that was only slightly craggy but still attractive. He returned to the desk and dropped into the chair; he picked up the next file and began to flick through it.

Twenty minutes later, the little telephone on the edge of the desk began to chirp. Posner placed the last of the files aside and lifted the receiver.

"Posner" he snapped, taking a pen and a notepad from one of the many drawers in the desk. He scribbled a few words, nodding and asking questions before smiling and dropping the receiver into the cradle. It could be an interesting job. In any case, it would be a good case for the new girl to cut her teeth on. Posner smiled again and pressed a green button on the side of his desk, he gathered up the files and put them back in the filing cabinet while he waited.

Presently, the large oak door swung open and a young man walked in. At least he looked like a young man. He was just over five feet tall with red hair brushed forward around his face, bright brown eyes were slightly slanted but he smiled easily and often. The young man was dressed casually in a yellow sweater with a black band across the chest, blue jeans and brown loafers.

"Good evening, Dr Posner. What can I do for you?" he asked. Posner looked over the filing cabinet at Flynn Walters and found his smile widening; the young man's good humour was contagious. It was surprising really given how much he'd been through in his short twenty eight years of life. Flynn had been bought up by his grandparents as his parents had vanished from the face of the Earth when he turned twelve. They had also taken Flynn's younger sister, Diana, in and Posner had met Flynn through them. The older man had been much impressed by the young man's sunny disposition and ordered mind. When Flynn turned thirteen, Posner had offered him a part time job as his assistant. Sixteen years later, Flynn was still working for Posner and the old man depended on him more and more as business picked up.

"Assemble the team, Flynn. We leave in two hours" said Posner. Flynn, as always, didn't question this sudden change of plans. He merely nodded, turned on his heel and strode from the room. Posner watched him leave, the smile fading from his face. He sat back down at the desk and looked at Cherry's photo again, a tear rolled down his cheek but a gasp escaped him when the photo began to change. Her face distorted until it almost seemed to be melting, the eyes blazed red and a snarl echoed around the room. Posner picked up the photo and glared at it.

"I'll find you one day. I'll find you and drag you back to Hell myself" he whispered. The snarl turned to a chuckle as the photo returned to normal. Posner replaced the photo and stood up; he left the study and headed for his own room. He needed to pack.

Flynn closed the door to the study behind him and headed along the corridor. He could hear the rain hitting the glass wall on the side of the building, the light was fading but the mansion had lights fitted into the ceiling every few yards though out. Flynn ran a hand through his red hair and jogged up the three steps that took him to the West Wing of the house. Most of the bedrooms were on this side while the East Wing held the offices, main library and a few other rooms that Flynn didn't really use.

Flynn heard the study door open and close and smiled; Dr Posner was heading to his own room upstairs to pack. Flynn sometimes thought he should have a personal man servant to do those things for him; it wasn't as if he couldn't afford it. Flynn passed the doors and headed for the end of the corridor, it was always easier to start at the end and work back. He wondered where they were going and what they would be doing. Working with Dr Posner was always interesting and they were always travelling. Flynn smiled again, looking forward to this adventure. He raised his fist and knocked on the door.

Inside the room in question was Dawn Wood. She was thirty six and had worked for Dr Posner for ten years now. Dawn couldn't remember if she had any family but she didn't really care anymore. There had been a time, when she was very much younger and living on the streets, she had cared terribly. Her days had been plagued by strange men offering her money in exchange for certain acts she could never bring herself to perform. But the nights had been worse. Ever since Dawn could remember she had been able to see things that weren't happening right in front of her. It usually turned out that what she had seen had actually happened, only miles away from her. Dawn didn't know what it meant and then she had met Roger and she hadn't cared about any of it anymore.

Roger had helped Dawn get off the streets and she had fallen desperately in love with him and him with her. A few years later, little Joseph had come along and that was when it happened. Dawn had woken one night, screaming her husband's name as the sweat rolled down her dark skin. She'd thrown herself from the bed and taken the baby to her neighbours, jumped in the car and sped into town. She had seen Roger behind the wheel of his car, covered in blood and staring at nothing as his life drained from him. Dawn had only just made it in time to stop Roger from being killed; but he had been injured and spent a lot of time in hospital.

Dawn had met Dr Posner not long after. The story of how Dawn Wood had saved her husband from certain death had got around quickly and Dr Posner had a lot of well-paid people around the globe that told him about these uncanny people. He had called on Dawn while Roger was still in hospital and told her about his group and the work he did. Dawn had been fascinated and had listened for over an hour as Posner had told her of all the wonders she could see if she worked with him. She had discovered that her ability was called Remote Viewing; she could see things that were happening even when she wasn't there.

It had been a relief to Dawn to find somebody that knew what she was going through and could help her to understand it. She waited until Roger was fixed up and home again before explaining things to him, Roger had been understanding back then and had even encouraged her to go with Dr Posner. After ten years, Roger was less understanding.

"I don't understand why you can't come home on weekends? Joseph has almost forgotten what you look like for God's sake!" Roger's voice was loud and angry as it snapped down the phone; Dawn held the receiver away from her ear and swallowed back the tears that threatened to rise. Joseph had not forgotten his mother, the letters he wrote her proved that. Joseph was proud of her and happy that she could help people, he was also showing signs of the same uncanny gift that had plagued his mother for so long. At least he wouldn't have to deal with it alone like she had.

"I'm coming home in a few days. We can talk properly then" Dawn sighed. She didn't wait for a reply; she simply pulled the plug from the wall and dropped the receiver onto the side table. She walked across the pale blue carpet to the four poster bed, pushed aside the lacy curtain and threw herself onto the mattress. Dawn sighed when someone knocked on the door; she slipped off the bed and glanced in the full length mirror on the wall before going to the door. As always, Dawn was surprised by her reflection. In the words of her ten year old son, she was one hot mama!

Dawn was just short of six feet, willowy and long limbed with a slim figure. Her hair was black and only a few shades darker than her skin, it was cropped close to her head with a bright pink streak in the fringe. She wore a canary yellow skinny tee with a pink and white spotted tie around her neck, black PVC trousers and gold coloured knee boots. Her green eyes flashed as she pulled open the door but her face softened when she was saw Flynn.

"What's up kiddo?" she asked. A cloud seemed to pass over Flynn's sunny face for a moment before the smile returned.

"We're leaving in two hours. I have no idea where we are going so don't ask me. I need to let the others know, excuse me" said Flynn. He inclined his head slightly and moved away from the door. Dawn smiled to herself and pushed it closed. Flynn looked much younger than his twenty eight years but, unlike Dawn, he had a massive chip on his shoulder about it. The smile faded as Dawn realized that she would have to call Roger now and tell him that she was leaving again. Dawn sighed; maybe she could get Joseph on the phone and bypass her husband all together.

Dawn Bent to plug the phone back into the wall and groaned as a sudden picture sprung to life behind her eyes.

Teeth. Sharp teeth and dull teeth but all of them tearing, ripping at flesh and then the screaming. It wasn't an animal. Dear God, it was a person! The teeth were eating a person!

Dawn pushed herself upwards and dashed across the room to her en suite toilet, she just made it to the toilet in time before she vomited. The images faded but she couldn't forget them. It had to be something to do with where they were going and it disturbed her that she had tuned into it so quickly, even before they left the house and knew where they were going. Dawn flushed the toilet, brushed her teeth and went back to the phone. She still had to call Roger and she still had to pack, everything else could wait a while.

Outside in the corridor, Flynn was on the move again. He liked Dawn but he hated the whole 'kiddo' thing. He didn't need to be reminded every frigging five minutes that he looked about twelve years old. Flynn stopped outside the next door and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and fore finger, he needed to be calm for this one. The person inside that room was a telepath and any strong emotion would let them inside Flynn's head and he didn't want that. It was hard enough being in there on his own let alone having someone else poking about in there.

Flynn raised his head, took a deep and calming breath and knocked on the door with a confident rat-a-tat-tat. After a few seconds, the door swung inwards and Flynn suddenly felt like the twelve year old he looked like. The man standing before seemed to radiate strength and vitality and it wasn't just because of his size. Hale Redwood was over six and a half feet tall, broad shouldered and well-muscled. His black hair was totally straight and hung down past his shoulders to his chest. His eyes were a deep azure blue; the left one had a deep scar that ran from an inch above his eyebrow, over his eye and about another inch down his cheek.

"Hello, Flynn. How are you this evening?" asked Hale. He smiled and leaned on the door jamb. He seemed relaxed and controlled but Flynn could feel tendrils of fog groping around in his head, it was unnerving and he wanted to move away as quick as possible. His words came out in a rush.

"We're leaving in two hours no idea where we are going but you need to be ready to leave must go now bye" he said. Flynn took a big, whooping breath as he hurried down the corridor to the next door. He could hear Hale chuckling a little as the door closed.

Hale leaned against his door, the smile fading from his face. He must remember to apologise to Flynn for that little intrusion, it was force of habit now for Hale. Every time someone knocked on the door or looked at him he would check their intension by probing their minds. Most of the time, they didn't even realize he was doing it. Flynn knew because he was sensitive to it but Hale would have to control himself next time. He moved across the room with steps so soft they barely made imprints in the lush carpet. This was a trick he had learned from his father back on the reservation. They weren't real Native Americans but nobody on the reservation cared. They had a great respect for the Earth and for every living thing and Hale had much to thank them for. It was they that had taught him how to control and use his uncanny gift when they could have shunned him and made him an outcast.

Hale remembered the day, nine years ago, when he had first met Dr Posner. He'd been eighteen at the time and trying to decide what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Hale had returned home to his little caravan on the reservation to find the head of their tribe and another man waiting for him. Dr Posner had been a friend to their tribe for many years and he had heard about Hale from the tribe's leader. Posner had offered the teenager a chance to do something worthwhile with his life, to help those who were maybe not as strong as he was. Hale had felt a little like Clark Kent being told that he is Superman but he had listened, politely and then agreed to go with him.

Hale called his tribe to tell them he was leaving again and then he pulled a suitcase from under his bed. He placed it on the desk and lifted the lid. Posner never knew how long these trips would take so Hale just dropped in similar clothes to ones he was wearing. Socks and boxer shorts, t shirts and blue jeans. A car pulled up outside, the sound of tyres crunching over gravel was unmistakable. Frowning, Hale moved across the room to the window and pulled the curtains aside. The rain had stopped and Hale had a clear view of the patch of gravel the taxi had pulled up on. A girl climbed out of the car and Hale gasped at the psychic waves coming off her.

"What are you?" he muttered. The girl pushed back her hood to reveal vast amounts of bright blue dreadlocks. Hale smiled and let the curtain drop back into place. Even though he couldn't see her anymore, he could still feel her. Strength tinged with vulnerability, it was so strong Hale had to close himself off from her or he would never get anything done. Hale went back to the wardrobe and continued his packing.

Further down the hallway, a good-looking black man was shaking Flynn's hand and thanking him for the news of their imminent departure. Flynn nodded and hurried away to the next room, leaving Max Bradley alone. Max closed the door and immediately crossed the room to the ornate telephone that sat on his desk; he shoved papers and medical journals aside and scooped up the receiver. He had to call his wife and let her know that they were heading out again.

Max was luckier than Dawn; Kendra was more than happy for her husband to chase ghosts across the globe. Max kept telling her that it wasn't actually that simple but Kendra refused to be sensible about it and continued to treat the whole thing as a joke. Max himself had no special abilities, he was merely the team doctor and Posner preferred him to be there. Just in case. So far, the worse injury Max had had to deal with was a twisted ankle but it always paid to be sure. And Posner was paying through the nose for Max.

Max had become a full-fledged medical doctor just eight years ago and he had been approached by Posner at about the same time. Max had heard of Posner, most people had by then but he had been curious as to why Posner wanted him to join the team.

"I have no special abilities. Nothing uncanny about me, I'm afraid Dr Posner" Max had said, raising a quizzical eyebrow. Posner had laughed, a deep melodious sound that Max had only heard from him on a handful of occasions since.

"Health and safety, my dear Dr Bradley. You are the best in your field, you are young and strong and I want you in my team. Plus, a lot of my team are pretty young women." Max had laughed at that, people always suspected him of being a lothario but he had eyes only for his wife. Max had agreed immediately and moved into the mansion for a few days a month.

Max smiled when Kendra answered the phone, she still squealed in delight when he called even after over fifteen years of marriage.

"I don't suppose you know where you're off to?" asked Kendra.

"Of course not, that would be too easy! I think we have a new member too. A girl just climbed out of a cab outside" replied Max. He was staring out of his open window at the girl that was standing on the gravel; she watched the cab drive away before turning and staring up at the mansion.

"Another pretty young thing?"

"You're the only girl for me, baby cakes. Besides, she has masses of bright blue dreadlocks. I think she might be a little young for me" said Max, laughing.

"What does she look like?" asked Kendra. Max smiled, he knew her so well. Kendra trusted him implicitly but she still liked to know who he was going to be spending time with.

"Tall, slender, little yellow sunglasses in the dark. Huge black boots covered in spikes and buckles. Dr Posner said he wanted to get some security for the team, maybe she's it. Anyway, I gotta go baby."

"Okay, honey. Call me when you can. I love you."

"I love you too, Kendra." Max dropped the receiver back into the cradle and took his suitcase down from the top of the wardrobe. Max opened his wardrobe and pushed the suits aside. He couldn't stand those things unless he had no other choice and what he was already wearing would be fine for travelling in. Brown Vans, cream trousers and a white shirt with a very lightly yellow vest and matching silk tie. His golden eyes sparked as he grinned and ran a hand across his shaved head before lifting shirts and trousers from their hangers. A burst of laughter from the corridor outside his door made him grin again. The twins were home and just in time to set out again.

Flynn had stopped the twins in the hallway as they had headed back to their rooms. As they had just come back from visiting their families, the suitcases they carried contained newly cleaned clothes. They simply turned on their heels and headed back downstairs to the main hall.

Kelly and Megan Carlsberg were twenty two and had been with Dr Posner for four years now. They hated going home for family visits but Posner insisted on it, he didn't want any of his team to lose touch with the real world. Kelly and Megan's family all thought they were weird and, in all fairness, they kind of were. And because of that, their older sister and younger brother received preferential treatment. Both of the twins had jumped at the chance to join Posner's team when the opportunity arose.

Kelly had found an advert in the paper for anyone that possessed any psychic abilities to come to Cherry House and be tested and the ones with the best results would join the team. Kelly had dashed through the house to show his sister the advert and, two days later, they had arrived at the door to Cherry house. Posner had been intrigued by the Carlsberg twins. In his experience, twins usually had the same abilities but in this case they were merely similar. Kelly was Precognitive; he could see the future while Megan was Postcognitive and could see the past. They worked well together as a team and had scored the highest among all the psychics that had gone for the testing. Posner had signed them up right away.

Kelly and Megan dropped their bags in the hall and stretched.

"I wish we could have had more time before going off again" said Kelly. He yawned and stood in front of a mirror, spiking his blonde hair upwards and straightening his square framed glasses on his face. Megan peered over his shoulder and adjusted her own glasses before tightening her blonde pigtails.

"It can't be helped. At least that's another home visit out of the way and with mum and dad going away for Christmas this year, we won't have to go home then either" she said. Kelly smiled at the thought of spending Christmas at Cherry House and turned away from the mirror. He looked down at himself and wondered if he should change into something warmer for travelling. Kelly wore black and white trainers, black jeans and a brown long sleeve t shirt. Kelly shook his head, they would be going in the bus and then in the train. He'd be warm enough.

Megan had been thinking the same thing but as she was smaller than her brother, she always seemed to feel the cold. She opened the nearest bag and pulled out a grey, woolly jumper and pulled it over her striped white shirt. Megan tightened the belt on her blue jeans and sniffed when she realized that they were wearing the same trainers. She hated when that happened, people always thought they did that kind of crap on purpose. Megan was about to go back into her bag and change her shoes when the front door opened and a bundled up figure walked in and dropped a suitcase onto the floor.

"Who are you?" asked Kelly. The figure lowered its hood to reveal a round face with yellow lensed glasses and bright blue dreadlocks. The girl slipped off her coat and hung it from a peg before turning to the twins and asking in a low almost husky voice.

"Who are you?" Kelly glared at the newcomer while Megan stood beside her brother, ready to back him up should this blue haired upstart decide to start any trouble. The girl just shoved her hands into the pockets of her purple camouflage trousers and continued to stare at them, her eyebrow raised. Just as the atmosphere in the hall was turning decidedly frosty, another door opened and Dr Posner walked into the hall. He smiled and held out his hands to the twins, they each took one and managed a smile in return.

"Welcome back you two! Perfect timing as always, you're ready to go I see. Good, good!" He suddenly became aware of the other person in the room and his smile grew. Posner hurried across the hall to the girl in a white vest and beige shirt, once again holding out his hands.

"I'm so glad you decided to join us. Everybody, this is Dextra" said Posner.

"Dex" corrected the blue haired girl. The twins glanced at each other for a moment before edging across the room and shaking hands. Posner patted Dex on the back and checked his watch. The others should be down at any moment and they could get on with their great adventure.

Odessa Furlong had been watching this little exchange from behind a column at the top of the staircase. She frowned and reminded herself to keep her gloves handy if they had someone new joining them. But, in general, she was happy they were all going off again. It was so much nicer when they were all together. Odessa took a deep breath and tried to calm herself, she hated meeting new people and always expected to be laughed at and made fun of. Odessa sighed and looked down at herself, at just sixteen she had definitely developed a style all her own. Today, as they were travelling, she had gone for something simple. A very light pink vest tied up with laces at the front, a black ruffled mini skirt and knee high black and white trainers. Odessa smiled and started down the stairs.

"Ah and here's another of our group. Odessa, this is Dex. She will be joining us from today" said Posner. Odessa passed the twins, hiding behind the mass of red curls on her head and turning her violet eyes away from them. She didn't like the twins, they were, quite literally, two faced and Odessa just couldn't stand that. Odessa liked to be happy and positive much like Flynn and she couldn't understand people like the twins that found doom and gloom in the best situations.

"I know there is quite a hefty age difference between you two but I would appreciate it if you would help Dex. Take her under your wing, as it were" said Posner. He pressed a hand to Odessa's back, being careful not to touch any bare flesh and propelled her towards the older girl. Before Odessa could say anything, Dex had taken her outstretched hand and the red head suddenly wished that she had remembered to put on her gloves.

Odessa could see what was happening as if watching from a distance for she was a gifted psychometrist and laying her hands on any object or person gave her visions of what they had done or of what had happened to them. She saw Dex walking in the dark all alone. She saw Dex dragged into an alleyway by a man, his big hands pawing at her top and trying to get it open while Dex screamed –

The vision was cut off when Dex suddenly yanked her hand free. Odessa swallowed and stared at the floor for a moment or two and tried to bring herself back into the present. She thought she would be used to this uncanny gift by now but sometimes it still managed to surprise her. An accident at the age of eight had bought her gift to the surface but, since most of what she saw turned out to be bad she had decided to be a happy person and not let it get her down.

Four years after the accident, Dr Posner had tracked down her parents and asked if Odessa would like to join his team even though she was only twelve at the time. Odessa had liked Dr Posner immediately; he had taught her the proper name for her ability. Psychometry or sometimes it was called Touch-Know, he had explained ways to control it and it was he that had given her a pair of gloves to try and protect herself from her own gift. Odessa's parents had been unsure at first but now they were just glad that Odessa could be with people that understood her and could help her.

Odessa lifted her gaze to Dex, feeling her eyes filling with tears. Dex turned away from her but Odessa didn't take it personally, she almost knew the girl inside and out. Dex would not accept pity from anyone, even a girl that had tap danced through her memories.

Upstairs, the last member of Dr Posner's happy band of uncanny freaks sat on her bed and glared at her reflection in the mirror. Brook Ayres was thinking about the conversation she had just had with her father and the more she thought about it, the angrier she became. How could Daddy say that she must do as Dr Posner tells her? Daddy was the biggest contributor to this pointless team and Brook should be the one in charge. She was the only one that had any sort of control over her power, the fact that automatic writing didn't take much controlling had never occurred her.

Brook had been at Cherry House for a year now and the knowledge that she still wasn't the one running the show irked her greatly. Brook was nineteen and had been born with her gift, Mummy and Daddy had figured that out the moment she picked up her first pen and began writing messages from dead relatives on the walls of their house. They had sent her to a doctor but since there was nothing medically wrong with her, the doctor had introduced them to Dr Posner. Brook had been made part of the team when she had turned eighteen. But Brook still thought she should be running things, Dr Posner knew nothing about the world. The fact that Dr Posner was a world renowned authority on everything supernatural had, as most things did, passed her by.

Brook removed her robe and went to the wardrobe, her bag was already packed. That was another annoyance, at home Brook had servants to do all this stuff for her. But at Cherry House, Posner preferred them to do things for themselves and retain some semblance of normalcy.

"Having someone do it for me is normal!" snapped Brook. Her sky blue eyes snapped as she dressed in a white vest, lime green skirt, white leggings and dark green ballet slippers with the ribbons winding around her calves. Brook stood before the mirror and brushed her chocolate brown hair, it hung straight to her shoulders with a fringe just above her eyes. She would have it out with Posner as soon as she could get him alone, it was ridiculous! Doing all these things for herself was simply exhausting and she would stand for it no longer. Brook picked up her bag and slammed out of the room, leaving the light blazing but making sure the door was locked behind her.

Brook made a great show of struggling with her bag down the stairs into the Hall but nobody came forward to offer help. In fact, Flynn and Max jogged down the steps beside her and Hale and Dawn seemed to be lost in their own thoughts as they walked right past her.

"Who the Hell is this?" demanded Brook. She dropped her bag on the floor and stared at the newcomer with undisguised hostility.

"Now that everybody is here, I can introduce you all. This is Dex; she will be accompanying us on this trip. If she likes it, she'll become a permanent member of our family" said Posner. He smiled and laid a friendly hand on Dex's shoulder, she stiffened but he refused to remove his hand. He wanted her to get used to friendly contact after so long alone. Unfortunately, not everybody was of a mind to be friendly. The twins were still glaring at Dex and Brook definitely had something to say.

"Why wasn't I told about this? My Daddy is your biggest patron and he should be informed of any changes" she said. Brook's hands were clenched into tight white fists and she was almost shaking with rage. Luckily, Posner knew that Books rages were best ignored or she became much worse.

"Your father is a patron, he gives us money. He has no say in how I run my group" said Posner. Turning his back on the fuming teenager he smiled and made for the door, the others took the hint and followed. Dex watched them leave, pulled her coat back on and, with a last look around the hall, followed them out into the damp evening.

Dex watched the rest of the group climb into a red bus with bunches of cherries on the doors and the words 'Cherry Group' on the side. She looked up at the house and frowned, it was called Cherry House but there were no cherry trees in sight anywhere. Yet another question she would have to ask someone about. Dex smiled, she didn't think she would be asking either of the twins or Brook. Maybe Odessa as Posner seemed to have decided to make them best buds.

Dex climbed into the bus and dropped her bag into the space at the back with the other luggage. She moved forward and found an empty seat a little away from the rest of the group where she could watch them and make up her mind. They all seemed okay; Posner had told her all about them in the hospital when he had asked her about joining the team. She looked at the back of Max's head and then transferred her gaze to Hale only to find him already looking at her. Dex could feel him poking about in her head but she knew how to get rid of him, she imagined a huge metal door in her mind and then slammed it shut. Hale winced a little before giving her a shy smile and turned back to the window.

Dex sighed and watched the world go by outside, although she couldn't see much in the dark. She listened as Brook argued and Dawn tried to calm her down with the occasional remark from Max. Kelly and Megan were complaining about some family thing they had just been to and Odessa was trying to make them feel better while Hale just sat and watched them all with the same shy smile on his lips. Flynn was near the front with Dr Posner going through some notes for the journey. Dex sighed again and wondered if this was such a good idea after all. Everybody here seemed to have somebody at home but Dex had only herself to rely on and she wasn't sure about her own judgement.

Dex had been bought up in a succession of children's homes and foster homes with a few years on the streets thrown in for good measure. She had learned to fight at an early age; it was either that or get your arse handed to you on a regular basis. Dex hadn't even been aware that she possessed any kind of ability; it had only manifested itself when she was in real danger. She'd been going back to a tiny bedsit she had managed to get after finding a job cleaning other people's houses. Dex had passed an alleyway and been dragged inside by a man, she had screamed and called for help but nobody had come running. The man had ripped open her shirt and pawed at her breasts while trying to lift her skirt. And then he had been gone. Dex had opened her eyes to see him on the other side of the alley with a metal bar sticking out of his chest. She'd run to the nearest hospital and dashed inside to get herself cleaned up.

Dr Posner had found her there after the police had finished with her. He had made some sort of deal that would allow him to take charge of her as long as he gave the police regular updates. Dex had jumped at the chance of moving into a mansion, even after she had been informed of the uncanny powers of Cherry House's inhabitants. Still, being telekinetic was weird enough in itself so she would fit in just fine. Dex was new to the whole paranormal scene but she was a fast learner and was basically acting as security for their team. Psychic stuff had never entered into her life before she had met Dr Posner but it had been that very psychic stuff that had saved her life so she was more than willing to give it a chance.

The bus pulled up at a train station and they all moved from the bus to a waiting train. Posner moved along the corridor, allocating compartments and handing out mini files as he went. Dex was paired with Dawn and she didn't mind so much, Dawn seemed to be a very motherly person and Dex could use a little mothering for a change. They entered their compartment, pushed their bags under the bunks and changed for bed. A little man in a uniform marked Cherry Group bought them some tea and sandwiches before leaving them to a little peace and quiet.

"So, what do you think of our happy little band?" asked Dawn. She poured the tea and handed Dex a cup before nibbling on a sandwich.

"I'm not sure, I met Dr Posner when I was in hospital and I like him. He makes me feel safe and I'm definitely not used to that. I like Flynn too and Max, they seem to know what they're doing which is comforting" said Dex. She stared out the window as the train began to pull away from the little station and, gathering speed, moved through the night like a shark through the ocean.

"What about Hale? He seems to have taken an interest in you. He's kinda cute don't you think?" asked Dawn, she looked at Dex over the rim of her cup.

"I'm not interested in men."

"Oh, I see."

"I'm not interested in women either. I'm just not interested" snapped Dex. Dawn took the hint and changed the subject; their room was far too small for them to be at each other's throats.

"What do you make of the twins?" she asked. Dawn laughed when Dex crossed her eyes and blew a raspberry.

"I think they need to get over themselves and so does that Brook. Odessa seems nice though, Posner wants me to stick with her or you as much as possible. Learn the ways of the Force and all that jazz" said Dex. She laughed and Dawn decided that the younger girl needed to do that more; her face totally changed and lit up when she laughed.

Dawn put her cup down and picked up the sheaf of papers Posner had given her, she leafed through them and raised an eyebrow. She looked up at Dex and flashed a dazzling smiled.

"Are you ready for your first adventure, Miss Barlow?" Dex smiled back and shrugged.

"Too late now if I'm not!" They finished their sandwiches, drank the rest of the tea and switched off the light. It was going to be a long couple of days.