Monday, 22 July 2013

Glyph. (Part 1)

Isaac stumbled up the stairs, racing to get into his room before he was otherwise engaged in some monotonous domestic activity assigned to him by one of his parents. Fortunately, no-one appeared to be home; he was alone.

The thunderstorm still roared outside, it was unnatural, Isaac had never seen anything like it. The clouds were black as coal, and the lightning that they spat out was razor sharp and so ferocious it appeared vindictive. For the first time in his life, Isaac did not feel safe in his own home, so vicious was the storm that it threatened to penetrate the shell that was his house.

He sat on the bed and looked down at his hand where the lightning had struck him. I should be dead, he thought to himself. There was no question about it, he had been struck by lightning, he should have been severely injured at the very least. His hand however, was not only still fully intact, it seemed to be completely unaffected. The palm of his hand was black, but he easily brushed most of it off.

What is this stuff? 

Forcing himself to stay calm he made his way to the bathroom and placed his hand under the cold trickle of tap water. Bracing himself for some form of pain he winced when the water made contact, but found there nothing of the sort. The cold water felt the same as it always did.

The water gathered in the sink, dirty and grey due to the dusty black substance smothering his palm. Isaac became aware, looking down, that not all of the black markings were washing off. There remained a few shapes on his hand. He grabbed the soap. Rubbing harder, and faster, and desperately, but to no avail. His hand was clean, but permanently marked.

The shape upon his palm resembled two crescent moons, one lying horizontally, the other reflecting it, and shifted slightly to the left. In the centre of the two moons was an arrowhead pointing left, with three triangles surrounding it, two hovering just above the initial arrows' two faces, and the third just detached from the indent in the back of the arrow. The two crescent moons also appeared to have two spikes protruding from each of their exteriors, again reflected perfectly on either side, so the shape reached just short of his wrist and the beginning of his fingers, but covered the entirety of his palm.

As Isaac scrubbed mercilessly at his hand, he slowly, but surely accepted the inevitable. It wasn't going to come off. Still- it frightened him, these mysterious markings were not natural, they just felt... wrong. I suppose I should be grateful i'm alive, I have that much at least, stop worrying!

The front door opened and promptly slammed shut.

"Jesus Christ!" The voice from downstairs exclaimed. His mother was home. For some reason he could not contemplate, he did not want to see her right now, he didn't really want to see anybody at all. "Isaac, are you home?"

Isaac heard her place her umbrella in the stand next to the door, and take off her shoes and throw them onto the rack next to the umbrella stand. He guessed the rain had made her a little less conscious of her noise level, because he could trace every move she made from the moment she stepped through the door. He could also hear her muttering to herself in an agitated voice, although he could not make out exactly what she was saying.

It wasn't long before she ventured upstairs to check on him, she would worry if he was out while the weather was this bad. The door creaked open. He saw his mother's face.

Suddenly he could see everything. Things he had already seen through his own eyes, but through her eyes, he could see things he never wanted to see, he could see things he didn't understand, they all came so quickly and loudly. It was endless. Dreams, hopes, nightmares, thoughts, memories, every synapse, every sector of the brain became his own to explore. There was so much, too much, all at once, He needed to get out. He could feel every fear, every phobia, bearing down on him, more and more, like he was drowning in an ocean that was only becoming deeper and he was sinking, down and down, and the water was filling his lungs, and the ocean was expanding, becoming more and more vast; infinite. Aspirations passed by in a blur, he was in the middle of moving traffic, but everything was moving faster than usual, time was entirely subjective and light flurried past leaving only an echo of colour and sound behind before he could truly register or understand what it all meant. Then it faded, first to black, then light and colour and sound and smell and taste returned; he was himself again. Not a second had passed, but he had lived another lifetime; another life. He had a new understanding of his mother, a new appreciation, a new perspective altogether. But now he was himself again, he moved his arm slightly as a test to prove to himself that this was reality, and that he was here and not anywhere else.

His mother entered the room.

"Isaac, thank god you are home, why didn't you answer me?"

He couldn't do much aside from shrug, he was in a state of recovery, or a state of shock. His hand was warm, and tingled slightly. As if being struck by lightning wasn't bad enough, he now had this new discovery to contend with.

"Are you okay?" She placed a hand on his forehead, "You're burning up, are you feeling alright?"

"Fine," He managed to blurt out, "i'm fine."

"If you say so," she paused and seemed to survey him for a minute, "alright, what did you fancy for dinner?" He breathed a sigh of relief.


The next day Isaac had to be at work relatively early in the morning. He quickly ate breakfast after waking up too late, and rushed out of the house. His morning routine was so hurried that whilst he was unable to forget, he was able to dismiss the events of the night before as something that happened to someone else, or sometime else; in another life, in a dream. He doubted, however, that he would ever be able to forget; that single moment when he had delved into his mother's mind would never leave him, how could he possibly forget?

He hated work in the mornings, he had college every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and worked shifts at a convenience store every Saturday evening and Wednesday morning, and out of all the days, Wednesday was the one he loathed the most due to the high amount of people who poured into the shop and demanded service. The day, surprisingly, was calm and mild in comparison to the night before. Few clouds were in the sky, and the ones that were, were innocent and scattered.

Isaac was placed on the checkout and spent the rest of the day scanning and bagging items for thankless customers. It wasn't until one particularly inquisitive customer commented on his 'cool tattoo' that he recalled the mark on his hand. A smile crept onto his face. He could have some fun now, maybe Wednesday was about to redeem itself. The next customer that came along was man only a few years older than himself. Isaac focused, trying his utmost to recreate that moment. The man was focusing mostly on his phone, and barely addressed Isaac, preferring instead to hand over his basket and letting him do all the work. He reluctantly gave up his attempt to infiltrate his mind after several attempts, accepting that maybe he had just imagined the entire thing after all. He continued on with his job, packing the young man's obscene and excessive amount of condoms into a plastic bag carelessly. 

"Is that everything today?" Isaac asked, trying to sound cheerful and mask his annoyance at the customer as well as his disappointment in his own abilities. The man looked up at him-

And now he could see everything, through his eyes he could access the library that was his mind, he knew what to expect this time, and therefore was not as overwhelming as he remembered. He found he could pinpoint the exact things he wanted to find. He knew where to look if he wanted to explore this man's memories, he knew where to look if he wanted to browse through his dreams, and the man's thoughts were right there in front of him, clear as daylight. His name was James. He was texting a girl named Alesha, and she was one of six girls he was attempting to sleep with, but the truth was, he was failing with all of them. In fact, he was a virgin, but was hopeful that would change soon enough. It was almost admirable. After exploring his mind for some time he retreated back to himself. Smiling, he told James to 'have a good day' and wished him luck, motioning to the condoms. James left the store quickly, his face reddening slightly.

This is amazing! I can read everyone's mind, I can see what they are all thinking!

Isaac spent the rest of the day repeating the process with nearly every customer he had. The process was difficult at first, but as the day passed it grew increasingly easy to access people's minds. Sometimes he would find himself struggling to contain his laughter, other times he was deeply saddened or even disturbed by what he found in many people's thoughts and memories. At the end of the day, he was exhausted, but satisfied. His hand was burning, the skin around the markings reddening slightly. 

Returning home, he retreated immediately to his room. For some reason the TV had been left on, playing to no-one, some female journalist was on the screen, reporting on some major forest fire in Australia that had claimed several lives. Isaac shut it off. He laid down on his bed and chuckled to himself as he reflected on his newly obtained power. He had to keep saying it over and over again in his head: I can read people's minds through their eyes. But he sensed there was something more: that he had only begun to realise his power. The explanations he desired felt so out of reach, but he yearned to understand, and reach his full potential, and he would.

There is more to this than meets the eye. 

He glanced down at his hand and he could feel the power bubbling beneath the skin, beneath the marking; beneath the glyph.

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