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Week #26: Creative Writing Challenge – Not a Mind Reader

July 3, 2021

Everyone in the world has the ability to read thoughts. Except for one person.

I stood staring out at the water and thinking about the life I could have had, had I been born normal that is. As it was, I was little more than a glorified prisoner. The Administrator had found me when I was young, convincing my mother that I’d never have a normal life and that I’d be better off under their tutelage. I hated her for thinking that I’d be better off away from her. The Administrator had given me the best that education could buy. They weren’t a horrible person, most of the time. A greedy narcissist for sure, but not a horrible person. But with all that education they’d turned me into a smart and cunning vault of information for their personal use. And I hated them for it.

See, a vault was something special in the current world. A vault hides secrets and if it’s good at its job, is practically impenetrable. I was a human vault for my unusual abilities, or I should say lack thereof. See, I was the only one that had been found who couldn’t read other people’s thoughts, and even more importantly, other people couldn’t read mine. I was a vault in a world that shared too much. I held secrets in a world of too much information.

People generally learned how to put their mental shields up so they couldn’t be read. It was even taught in school now days, but took so much concentration that most people didn’t do a great job maintaining their mental shields at the same time as other important tasks. People were recluses for the most part, limiting their interactions, limiting the chances someone would get through their mental shields and purloin their bank account information or their credit card numbers.

That’s why people liked me. That’s why the Administrator liked me. People trusted me because I couldn’t steal secrets from their heads, and once they gave me their secrets, no one else could steal them from me. I was a vault. The Administrator always called me their “business partner” when I was really just their ticket into the business dealings that had made them a billionaire overnight. Threats as to my mother’s safety kept me around, and the Administrator kept me in comfort so I didn’t complain too much.

But it was waring, having so many secrets floating around in my head in a world where secrets were a currency of their own. I laughed, thinking that if it were true, then I’d be the richest man in the world.

I had to get out. The problem was that no one could read my thoughts. Therefore, everyone noticed me. Even people who had their mental shields in place still emitted thought sounds, albeit indecipherable. My presence was like this uncomfortable empty void my mother once told me after the kids on the playground were mean to me. She said they didn’t understand silence and it scared them. As an adult walking down the street I got gaping stares at best and yelled profanities at worst. It was like the silence was a beacon to everyone.

Lucky for me, I had a solution that would help keep me from being too noticeable. Two years previously I had been working on a business deal for the Administrator with a biotechnology company. The Administrator wanted to invest in some kind of diagnostic nano cameras and had sent me to work with the company because of their very strict NDA. Their employees literally lived on-site to prevent the accidental release of information. My special “qualifications” had easily gotten me through the door.

The lead technology specialist and I became friendly and we had numerous conversations about my mind vault and what caused it. Ever the curious scientist, the tech specialist asked to do some experiments. I acquiesced, thinking that it really wouldn’t hurt anything. After a couple months of covert experimentation (I didn’t want the Administrator knowing that I was seeking information about myself), we had found nothing except a way to make that empty void of thoughts less apparent to people. A pair of specialized headphones emitting sounds at the right frequencies would mimic the thinking mind. If people specifically tried to listen it would sound like gibberish, but people wouldn’t pick me out of a crowd because of the silence.

I held those headphones in my hands as I looked out at the bay, running through my plan.

It had taken me two years to lay the groundwork to disappear. Two years to make friends. Two years to make side agreements. Two years to amass a small fortune of my own. Two years to discover the Administrator’s enemies and convince them to help me. Two years to figure out how to bring the Administrator down. And tonight would be the big finale. Tonight I would disappear forever.

At 5 pm I picked up my phone and listened to the voice on the other end. My mother was safe.

At 5:05 pm I laid the Administrator’s pant suit on their bed with a note that I would meet them at the banquet at 6 pm. From there I walked to the train station, casually placing the codes to the Administrator’s home safe in the hands of the ticket seller as I bought a train ticket to Rome. A stop at the flower stall on the corner at 5:30 pm had me dropping a small laser device that would open all the doors to the Administrator’s office villa into a bucket. This was the cost; access to secrets.

I arrived at the banquet hall at 6 pm sharp with flowers in hand to find a line at the coat check. I joined the Administrator at our usual table and enjoyed the hour of classical music and pasta that was our reward for donating enough money to help build a performing arts center in the countryside. It had been a business deal through and through, no matter how altruistic it seemed.

As usual, we strolled along the waterfront after the banquet. The Administrator spoke about upcoming business meetings and things their niece had done that afternoon during a visit. I didn’t speak.

I stopped at the harbor to admire the boats. There was no railing, only a small rowboat tied to the rocks 10 feet below. The street was empty of pedestrians and cars and the heavy summer heat silently pushed in on me. The Administrator brushed my shoulder as they glanced at the harbor, eyes surely unseeing, still talking about business.

I didn’t hear the shot, but I did hear the whosh of the bullet tearing through fabric and the thud of it slamming into flesh. The Administrator’s eyes went wide as they looked at me in surprise. I didn’t flinch as they went tumbling off the walk and into the rowboat.

I stood for a moment more admiring the view and soaking up the silence. As of 6:30 pm I no longer existed. A significant portion of the Administrator’s money was now mine hidden in secret accounts, and my mother was safe. I glanced at the rowboat, thankful that the Administrator wasn’t my problem any more, and then proceeded to disappear.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    July 16, 2021 7:01 am


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