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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Microstory 1057: Earl

My name is Earl, and I don’t like to talk about what happened to me last year, but I’ll do it, because you’re somehow making me feel like I need to. Edgar was a bad person back then, and I still don’t quite understand what happened to him, but that’s not really important, is it? What we really want to know is why he was ever so horrible? What made him that way? Only he could truly answer that, but the original Edgar is dead, and so is Viola, so I’m going to have to do my best. The way she explained it to me, there are those in this world who are born with a corrupted sense empathy, but not no empathy at all. Most people can experience, to some extent, other people’s emotions. Someone with reverse empathy, however, will feel the opposite emotion. Happy people make them angry. Sad people make them feel joyful. Do not mistake this for schadenfreude. A sufferer of this affliction will actively seek out the misery, and if they can’t find it, they’ll create it. It’s not that Edgar derived pleasure out other people’s misfortune, but his brain was literally processing the information the wrong way. When the original Edgar was hurting our friend, he wasn’t actually trying to kill him. He was just trying to undo his own physical pain. I don’t really remember what had hurt him in that case, but it certainly wasn’t the first time. He first told me about what he was when we were in middle school. That’s a really trying time for kids, so there was plenty of anguish and angst to satisfy Edgar’s needs, and he didn’t even have to do anything to get it. He just had to walk the halls, amongst all those growing boys and girls, who were so self-conscious about their lives. But then he got into high school, and things started changing for him. Our classmates were figuring out what they were good at, and what they wanted to do with their lives. They were making a point of having fun, and rebelling against their parents. Worst of all, they were discovering sex. Sex was the worst for Edgar. The ultimate pleasure, to translate to the ultimate torture. I spent years helping him get through his affliction, even going so far as to harm myself, but it stopped being enough, and I couldn’t do it on my own. He started trying to recruit others, and when I tried to stop him, he persuaded me otherwise, using a hypnotic power that I did not yet know he even had. I’m not sad he’s dead, because it really is the best for everyone, including him. I’m only sad about Viola, because how many others are there out there with reverse empathy, whom she could have helped? Perhaps now...falls to me.

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