Thursday 27 March 2014

The Gift

By Sarah Begg

I should never have asked to be telepathic.
Jack and Abby – they had the right idea. Jack asked for super strength and look at him now! He's been hailed as the world's first real superhero. He works in a specialist police unit and everybody loves him – no need for the jaws of life at a car crash scene, if Jack's there he can just pull the whole car apart.
And Abby – Abby got the invisibility thing. I thought she was nuts at the time – what practical use is there for invisibility? But it works for her, I suppose because she's quite shy. She can blend in to crowds and always knows way more about what's going on than anybody else ever does.
But me? I had to go and choose telepathy. It sounded so cool at the time, being able to read everyone's thoughts. But nobody told me that I'd literally hear everyone's thoughts all the time.
I can't go out in public places anymore without a barrage of thoughts pummeling me from every direction. And even when I do focus in on one particular person, their thoughts are always bad. I mean, you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you that people have such cruel, nasty thought, but they do.
When I'm standing at the coffee counter ordering a coffee, the friendly girl behind the counter is smiling at me and asking how my day has been, but her mind is saying

What the fuck is this girl wearing? God she really needs some makeup on, no wonder she's in here every day by herself. And don't order the croissant again, you're starting to get fat.

as she asks me sweetly, and with a smile, “And would you like a croissant today?”
I thought that telepathy would improve my relationships, not ruin them. I thought that I'd be able to have amazing sex with my boyfriend, but when I heard what he was thinking I broke down and cried. And then I couldn't explain to him what was wrong and of course he didn't understand and now he's gone.
I thought I'd be promoted at work due to all my really great insights into the company because I could assess how everyone was feeling. But management just wanted to know how I could have found out so much sensitive information, and then the accusations started that I was stealing other people's ideas.
No, if I could go back to that night when Jack, Abby and I were at the carnival, and we went into the psychic’s tent and the old man said he could give us all any gift we wanted, I definitely would not have chosen telepathy.
“Rachel, how are you feeling today? Are you ready to reopen our discussion from last week?”
I glare at the psychiatrist, hating her right down to my very core.
She acts all helpful and concerned but I know what she's thinking. She's thinking

Is she going to be receptive today? I really wish she would stop glaring at me. This session needs to wrap up fairly quickly so I have time to go home and make quiche for dinner.

“I know what you're thinking!” I scream at her. “Stop pretending to care when I know you don't!”
“Rachel, we've been over this,” the psychiatrist looks at me calmly but I can hear her thinking

Here we go, she's all fired up again today. God and I really thought we might be able to get somewhere this time.

“You are not telepathic.” The psychiatrist continues.
“Yes I am! Yes I am! The stupid psychic at the carnival did this to me! Why don't you believe me!” I'm crying already (earlier than usual), tears streaming down my face. “Just look at Jack! How do you explain how strong he is! And Abby – you've seen her turn invisible.”
“Rachel, you know that I have never seen your imaginary friend Abby at all,” the psychiatrist says patiently.
“That's because she's INVISIBLE! You can't see her, that's the whole point!” I yell at her.
“And your friend Jack can't have super strength,” she's still talking away calmly, as if I didn't just break the no-shouting rule. “Because if he did he could have broken out of his room here, couldn't he? He could break out of the straight jacket that he wears, but he doesn't, does he?”
“Jack's not in here,” I'm sobbing now, squirming around in my own straight jacket. “He's working with the police, saving the world.”
The psychiatrist is shaking her head sadly.
“Rachel, until you accept that you were hypnotised by a lunatic at that carnival and that you and your friend Jack have subsequent mental issues that we are trying to help fix, you will never get better. You need to be calm, and accept that none of this is true before we can try to reverse the hypnosis. Do you understand?”
“Stop thinking those thoughts!” I scream. “I'm not ugly and I'm not deficient! Nobody believes me! Everyone needs to stop thinking – I don't want to hear your thoughts, I don't want to!” I'm now whimpering and jolting my body up and down. I can feel my heart racing and my face is hot.
The psychiatrist just shakes her head sadly and signals for the two burly men to step inside the room.
“Sedate her,” she says softly. “We'll try again next week.”
As the men approach I hear what they're thinking

So young to be such a loon. Ah well, she's nothing nice to look at so doesn't matter.

Another week now we've got to keep this nut for. As if she'll ever get better, she's just as crazy as the rest of them

And then as the sedative is injected all the voices stop.

1 comment:

  1. Great story! I loved the twist in the end! :)

    Gustavo (


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