"What would you like to do today?' Helen asked. Lukas lifted his mug to his lips. He smacked his lips appreciatively.
"Have I ever told you that you make the best hazelnut mocha in the county?' He asked.
"No, and don't try and change the subject.' Lukas shrugged an apology.
"I wasn't, exactly.' He replied. He looked up from his mug, and Helen saw the pain that lurked in the depths of his eyes. There was something else there as well; fear. "I just don't know where to begin.'
Helen reached across the table, and clasped her brother's hand in hers. "If there's a problem; if you're in trouble, we can deal with it.' She told him earnestly. "Whatever's eating at you, I'm here. Always; you know that.'
Lukas managed a smile, and Helen saw that her twin was close to tears. Actual tears; she could not remember the last time her little brother had cried. Certainly not since childhood, she thought.
"I wish it was that easy.' Lukas began. He took another mouthful of courage. "I've never spoken about.., what I can do. To anybody. Not even you.'
"No.' Helen replied softly. "I've often wondered, but it never seemed appropriate to ask, somehow.'
I'm sorry, I should have talked to you sooner.' Lukas ghosted a smile. He took a deep breath.
"I've lost it.'
The words were a rapidly flowing stream, and Helen wasn't sure that she had heard correctly.
"It's gone.' Lukas cut her off. "Ever since I woke up in hospital, I haven't felt it.' He shivered, and emptied his mug in a long pull. Wordlessly, Helen took the mug and rose.
"Thanks, sis.' As she made another coffee, Lukas went on, his eyes downcast, as if studying the pattern of wood in the tabletop.
"It's a feeling,' He began. "But more than a feeling. Ever since we were kids, since that accident, I suppose, I've been able to sense things, a whole other world, beyond the reality that we know. It's hard to put this into words, but I've thought about it a bit.' He laughed harshly, a short, explosive sound. "Actually, I've thought of little else lately.'
Helen returned to the table, and held out the freshly filled mug. Her brother took it with a nod of thanks, and she sat down. Lukas sipped at the frothy top for a moment, then his eyes met those of his twin.
"Imagine a world that surrounds this one. Overlaps it; mingles with it. A world of shadows, and barely seen images, that shift constantly around you. Daytime, or night; it doesn't matter. It's always there, always around you. You can imagine that they're there, and it only takes a minute shift in perception to see parts of it. Does that make any sense at all?'
"A little, I suppose.' Helen told him, after a moment. "Your vision, or sixth sense, or whatever it was that got woken up after your accident allows you to sense and see things that are beyond normal perception.'
"Yes!' Lukas said emphatically and Helen jumped. "That's it exactly. I should have known that you, of all people, would understand. We should have talked years ago, sis.'
"Finally,' Helen smiled. "Some commonsense from my little brother.' She patted his hand affectionately. "It's about time.'
"I suppose.' Lukas smiled. "Anyway; that's how it was for me. All through my formative years, this other world was there. I got used to it being there quickly, even though it could be freaky at times. Some of the things I was allowed to see; well, let's just say that it wasn't all pretty. But I suppose, when you're young, anything can become commonplace, given a little time. Now,' He shrugged slightly. "I suppose it's a little like an old war wound; sometimes you hate it, but you'd miss it if it wasn't there.' He snorted lightly. "God knows, I know the truth of that now.'
"I think I understand,' Helen told him. "At least, a little. So,' she asked, as Lukas paused for coffee. "How did you know which ghosts to call, if that's what you did? Call them, I mean.'
"Most of the time, I didn't have to call them.' Her brother told her. He thought for a moment, his features assuming that far-away look that she was used to seeing. "Again, it's hard to explain.' He said. "When I speak to somebody, or when they come to me, each person brings his own little piece of the.., oh, call it the other side, for want of a better term.' Helen nodded, and he went on.
"Each person I interact with has a.., an aura. If I concentrate on that aura, I become aware of the people and things associated with that person. For example, say a person comes for a consultation. The minute I concentrate on him or her, I sense the part of the other side that surrounds him. If that person is thinking of someone, great auntie Mabel, or whoever, then I am able to see and usually, speak with the person uppermost in their mind. So, all I do is ask them to concentrate on that person, and that usually does it. Does that work for you?'
"Yes, I think so.' Helen said slowly. "So, that policeman who came to see you, a few years back; about the kidnapped girl, he brought her with him?'