Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Microstory 203: Self-fulfilling Prophecy

James Smith laid out careful measures to make sure that he could pass as a normal person. He moved from one monotonous temporary position to another, never settling, and never so much as attempting to find a career. He lived in a world where the majority of people had special abilities, but most of these abilities were common. Some could see beyond the visible light spectrum, others had superior memory, and a few were superhumanly strong. James, however, had an incredibly rare gift. He could read the thoughts of those around him. And even though he could choose whose mind to read at any given time, he generally preferred to be alone. Knowing what people were really thinking gave him a perspective few could understand, and it soured him on humanity. To make matters worse, there were two separate camps when it came to telepathy. There were those who admired telepaths, and even worshipped them. They were sometimes hired to visit long-term care units of hospitals, and translate the thoughts of coma patients. But most people, of course, feared people like James. The world was an extremely dangerous place for him. On the one hand, he could sense every move before a theoretical attacker makes it, but at a certain point, he’s still being attacked, and is at risk of being physically harmed. He lived in constant danger, knowing that anyone around him could hate him for his ability, and try to act against him for it.
One time, James was sitting in an interview with a potential employer. He left his telepathy on a rather mild level, really only concerned with how his responses were being received, but not interested in hearing the interviewer’s exact thoughts on the matter. A woman walked into the room and handed the interviewer a clipboard, asking him to sign a document, but this was a lie. By reflex, James focused his ability to pick up more details from the interviewer’s thoughts. The woman had shown him a single slip of paper with the words, He’s a telepath written on it. She must have had the ability to sense the abilities of others. This too was a rare gift, and people like her were often hired by governments and paramilitary organizations as recruiting tools. Without hesitating, the interviewer removed what was supposed to be a decorative bayonet sitting on the counter behind him. He quickly swept the blade over the table and ran it across James’ throat. James had predicted that this would happen, and pushed his foot against the desk to fall backwards, but it had not been quite enough. The interviewer had done enough damage to ultimately kill him. Fortunately, the ability-senser’s job was to inform her client of interviewee abilities; not to kill people. She disarmed the interviewer, placed pressure on James’ wound, and called emergency services. James was never the same after this incident, as one would imagine. His bitterness grew inside of him day by day, and after moving away and buying a new identity, he himself became violent and deadly. What the murderous interviewer feared most about a telepath was coming true, because of his own actions. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

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