This deleted scene is from Chapter 5, “Liliana”. She has just “healed” a bird and is now on a city bus on the way to school.
Liliana sat alone only until the next stop, when five more passengers stepped on. A man with long, greasy hair and ragged clothing stumbled her way, and she prayed that he would pass her by. Thankfully, he did. She was relieved when a mother with a small baby sat beside her; this at least meant that she wouldn’t have to sit next to any creepy men.
She exchanged a smile with the young mother, when the baby boy, who appeared to be about six months old, grabbed her coat and proceeded to chew on it. She looked apologetic while she tried to pry her baby’s grasp off of Liliana’s coat. In a heavy, Chinese accent, she said, “I so sorry.”
Liliana smiled and replied in Chinese, “That’s alright. He’s cute.”
As they made polite small talk, Liliana observed the passengers who boarded the bus. A young couple, about eighteen or nineteen, got on next. They held hands and were obviously in love; their auras glowed a soft red.
To make the ride endurable on the daily bus route to and from school, aura observation had become her favorite pastime. On the city bus, there was a never-ending variety of people, which provided plenty of entertainment to pass the time. The glowing light that circumvented life forms had always been a natural and accepted part of life. She saw auras the same way that she saw the color of someone’s eyes or hair color.
When the bus stopped again, Liliana observed the line of people on the sidewalk as they waited to board. A frumpy, middle aged woman, with short, curly, red hair, fumbled with a large, flowered purse as she looked for something within. Behind her, a frail, elderly woman waited. She had a hunched back, and the hand on her cane shook visibly. Even from a distance, Liliana could see that her aura was a muddy gray, a sign of illness.
The bus driver started to close the door when a man pushed the door open and bounded up the bus steps. He looked over his shoulder, with suspicion, and then threw himself in the first available seat, beside an old man who blew his nose into a handkerchief.
Liliana observed him, inconspicuously. She had offered the window seat to the mother so that the baby wouldn’t get bumped by passengers. From the aisle, she was provided with a clear view of the man. He appeared to be in his late twenties, wore a heavy, gray, trench coat, and had collar length, black hair that was slicked severely back. She noted his thick, dark aura. A doubt of suspicion raised the hair on her arms and sent a shiver down her spine.
He sat sideways and anxiously tapped his foot in the aisle. When he turned slightly, she caught a glimpse of a large, woman’s handbag, that stuck out from the recesses of his trench coat.
Maybe that explains why he was in such a hurry to get on the bus, she thought. He probably just mugged someone.
The man looked about nervously, and Liliana immediately averted her eyes. She hoped that he hadn’t noticed her and that he would get off the bus, soon. With several stops to go, she still had fifteen minutes before she could depart. Fifteen minutes suddenly seemed like an eternity.
The man tightened his trench coat belt, undoubtedly to conceal the purse, then stuck his hand in the coat pocket. When he pulled his hand out, she caught a glimpse of a silver object that appeared to be a knife.
The baby began to whimper, and then his whimpers turned into outright screams. The man turned toward the commotion, and for a moment, he made eye contact with Liliana. She had always been sensitive to the emotions of others, and when she concentrated, she could also hear a person’s thoughts. She didn’t need to concentrate to hear this man’s intentions; his thoughts rang in her ears as loud as the cries of the baby. Her heart pounded in her chest when she recognized pure evil.
The mother tugged awkwardly on the zipper of the diaper bag as she tried to hold the wailing baby in one arm and get the bag open.
“Would you like me to hold him for you?” she asked, in Chinese.
The mother looked relieved and handed over the screaming infant. “Thank you! I’m trying to get him a bottle; he’s hungry.”
Momentarily distracted from the creepy man, Liliana held the baby close, rocked him, and began to hum. She could feel his intense hunger and anxiousness. “Shhh, shhh, shhh, don’t cry little one,” she hushed, in Chinese. While she attempted to silence his cries, she summoned a surge of warmth and peace from within and willed it to flow over him. Just as suddenly as he had started to cry, he stopped and looked up at her with big, brown eyes. He blinked once and then began to coo.
“Wow, you have quite the touch,” his mother said, as she reached for him, bottle ready and in hand. “Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome.”
Trench Coat Man turned his attention forward, once more, and his hand wandered back to the knife in his pocket. His dark aura began to radiate stronger, and she was suddenly unable to block out his thought. As soon as we pull up to the next stop, I’m going for the old man, she heard him think. No one will realize what’s happened until I’m off the bus and long gone.
Liliana glanced at the old man beside him. He looked out the window, unsuspecting and unaware. She couldn’t see his face, just the back of his gray comb over and navy blue, knit scarf, wrapped around his neck.
The man in the trench coat was desperate and wouldn’t hesitate to hurt the old man if he refused to hand over his wallet. When the bus began to slow, Trench Coat Man tensed and prepared to make his move.
I need to do something, Liliana thought. She didn’t have the physical strength to stop him, and she was scared that if she said something, he might go crazy on the bus. The last thing she wanted was for the driver to get distracted and crash. She didn’t know what to do.
You can get him to stop, a voice in her head said. She was scared but knew that she had to try. Liliana closed her eyes and concentrated on the man’s thoughts.
I’ll stick the knife up to his ribs and tell him to give me his wallet, she heard him think.
Liliana roused courage from within and began to send him opposing thoughts. She didn’t think there was enough time to change his mood, but she just might be able to change his plan.
Don’t do it, her thoughts went out to him. Something bad will happen to you if you rob this man. You’re going to get caught and sent to jail. You already have the purse; take it and run. Leave this man alone.
Just as the man’s hand started to retreat from his pocket, he paused. It’s working, Liliana thought.
She continued her silent message. When the bus stops, you want to get off and get away as fast as you can. You don’t want to rob anyone else. Don’t press your luck. You don’t need this man’s wallet; you have the purse, that’s enough.
He glanced at the old man and then sat back in the seat and looked straight ahead. He glanced again and then shook his head. Man, this would have been a perfect opportunity. What am I thinking? Now it’s too late, he thought. The bus pulled up to the next stop, he looked once more at the old man, stood, and then made direct eye contact with Liliana.
Her thoughts flowed out to him like a direct current , and as a result, he undoubtedly felt an unexplainable, emotional pull back to her. She had been aware of the risk. She tried to reassure herself that he couldn’t possibly suspect she had anything to do with his decision. Thankfully, she still had a few more bus stops to go; that would put distance between them, and she prayed that she would never see him again. She worried, however, about the next innocent victim that might happen to cross his path.
Then, she got an idea when she noticed a bicycle cop who stood beside his bike, while he spoke with a pedestrian. She still felt a connection with the man and hoped that her thoughts could still reach him. You should steal that bike, she thought. You could get away a lot faster. Go ahead. The cop will never notice you.
She watched with anticipation as the man slowly side-stepped over to the bike. Just as he reached a leg over to hop on, the purse fell to the ground. At the same moment, the cop turned and saw him. Before the man knew what had happened, the cop had him pinned to the ground and handcuffed.
Liliana smiled and chuckled softly to herself. A few of the other passengers had also noticed the commotion and began to comment.
From the seat behind her, a woman shrilled, “Did you see that?”
“Mommy,” a little boy piped up, “is that a bad man?”
Oblivious to the events that had almost occurred, the old man continued to look out the opposite window, as the bus pulled away from the stop. Liliana smiled. First the bird and now this, she thought, and the day hasn’t even begun. surely it can’t get more exciting.