Creative writing - index


"Are you ready, Mr Brant?"

The surgeon's voice was as cold as the instruments on his tray. He made no effort to conceal his cynicism at the task he was being asked to perform.

"Yeah, go for it doc" came the response, in an attempt at levity, as Paul Brant braced himself for the pain that was about to follow. Yet again, he wanted to cry out that surely there was a better way than this, maybe some plant you could eat that would numb your body. But in a world where everybody could block unpleasant sensations with a simple mental command, there had never been a need to develop anaesthetics. Except that not everybody could. For reasons that nobody could explain, Paul had been born without Psi capabilities. After thirty four years of being confined to the isolation of his own mind, he was about to undergo an experimental technique that might change that, or might lobotomise him; he felt that it was well worth the risk. The surgeon lowered his blade to make the first incision into Brant's skull. As his screams echoed around the room, Paul assumed that it was only natural for his life to flash before his eyes ...

He was five years old, and his parents had already expressed concerns about his insular nature, as never once had he probed against their minds. They had consulted a behavioural psychologist, who had been unable to root out any hidden trauma, and concluded that he was simply a slow developer. Now he was going to school for the first time.

Other people could sense the approach of their friends before they were in earshot. He assumed that they just had better hearing than him; after all, there was no need for them to explain something that came so naturally to them.

He was nine years old, and starting to realise that his intuition was not as acute as other peoples. He could tell what kind of mood someone was in by their actions, but that was about it. Like all children, he had been taught that there were six senses, except that some people were blind, deaf, or anosmic. The possibility of someone not being able to sense things mentally was totally alien to the medical establishment. At his insistence, his parents took him to see their family doctor, who refused to accept his story, and implied that he was a liar. To prove this, she put Paul through various tests. These basically consisted of him being put in a room, near someone who was experiencing something intense, with instructions not to block their thoughts. The theory was that Paul wouldn't be able to help reacting, thus disproving his claims. Eventually, his blank expression convinced her that she was wasting her time, so she grudgingly accepted that he might have a point. However, there was no obvious cause for this, such as a head wound, so he was told to live with it.

He was thirteen years old, and was now in the remedial class at school, due to his inability to keep up with the rest of the students. It was an extremely frustrating experience; he could see everything that was written on the blackboard, and hear the teachers explanation, and given enough time he could understand it. However, he was never given that time, as the rest of the class seemed to latch on to concepts at once. Consequently, he had been relegated to the lower class, with the school delinquents, who had no interest in understanding their lessons. This mood affected the teachers, who lacked the enthusiasm to drive things home to them. On one horrible day, his fellows discovered that he could easily be taken by surprise. With a normal person, they would know if you were planning to throw something at them. Paul wouldn't, unless he could see it coming. After this, lessons became an ordeal, with his head being used for target practice by the boys in the row behind.

He didn't fare much better with the girls of his acquaintance. He was entering puberty, and was discovering a new perspective on females. As with most boys his age, he began to go on dates. However, the girls always knew what he was thinking! He couldn't understand it - he'd make sure that he didn't leer, and would always appear attentive to their feelings. But he kept getting slapped whenever he made innocent suggestions. How did they know?

Meanwhile, the operation continued. Paul had been told that it necessitated him being conscious, so whenever his mind began to shut down he was provided with stimulants to keep him awake. However, his mind continued to drift...

By the time he was eighteen years old, things had started to improve. While his contemporaries continued to shield their instincts, girls were well aware that "boys are only after one thing". Since he didn't even attempt to conceal this, they appreciated his honesty.

Also, the years had taught him to be more alert to other clues. Since many women didn't want to lower their guard before they trusted someone, this could cause difficulties with choosing who to trust, since up until that point the relationship would be quite shallow. Paul, by comparison, was Mr Sensitivity, and in return was completely open with his own thoughts, so he started forming very meaningful relationships. They didn't all work out, but they were worthwhile.

At twenty four years old, his job prospects were looking extremely good, again due to his lack of shielding, which meant that potential employers were able to put a lot of trust in him. He was barred from certain professions, since he couldn't ensure the confidentiality of information he knew, but he excelled in other areas. The police frequently contacted him to witness searches of suspected criminals' property, since his allegations would hold up better in court.

From time to time, he wished that he could have more privacy, rather than anyone being allowed to intrude on his thoughts. However, due to the scarcity of his condition, no laws existed to safeguard his rights, so he just got used to it.

He was twenty seven years old, and married Sarah, his long term partner. Some of her friends had advised against this, saying that he would never appreciate her in the same way as other men. However, they knew that this was right for them, and so they committed to spending their lives together. Sarah was content to really know that Paul would take this commitment seriously.

He was thirty years old, and his daughter Petra was born. This was the happiest day of his life. If anything, it seemed that Sarah was even more overjoyed than him, but he failed to appreciate the significance of this at the time.

He was thirty one years old, and growing increasingly despondent, even jealous, at the mental link that Sarah shared with their daughter. This provided the motivation to do something he had been thinking about in the back of his mind for many years; it was time to end his psilence once and for all.

It took time to track down the neurologists who had done research into the telepathic centres of the brain, and even more time to convince them of his story. Even now, he was being assured that it was a "medical fact" that everybody had psi capabilities... Eventually, money succeeded where oratory had failed, and they agreed to open up his skull and verify that all the correct links were in place, and attempt to correct them if not. He was warned that this was unprecedented, and that they couldn't guarantee the outcome of performing this kind of surgery on a live patient. But whenever he saw his daughter cry, and couldn't comfort her, he knew that he had to try.

Finally, the operation was at an end. At first, Brant didn't realise, since he was still in immense pain. However, he came to notice a difference - it was no longer coming from a specific position in his head. He was in fact sensing all the minds in the surrounding area, which was resulting in sensory overload, but the important thing was that he could sense them - the operation had been a success!

Paul stayed in the hospital overnight, by which time he could function normally, although he was still being buffeted by the onslaught of "voices". However, this didn't bother him, as he had already decided on a solution to this problem. All children were taught shielding techniques at an early age; in fact, he had studied them himself, with the appearance of being very successful. His daughter would soon be taking that class, and he would take it with her. For the first time, he would truly be able to share her world.

This page was last updated on 2003-12-29 by John C. Kirk

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! Level Double-A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Labelled with ICRA