anonymity by phoenix.writing

20 Jun

Although George had sometimes thought when he was growing up that his life was cursed, it had been in a very typical sort of way; he had five brothers and sisters, and he led the life of a middle child.

To top it off, his big sister was a genius, and his older brothers were super clever.  George had long suspected that Brian and Jo were quite bright, too, and he had always felt that he would never quite measure up.

He had worked hard to carve out his little bit of a life, and he had succeeded.  He wasn’t going to be world famous or sought after like the others, but it was enough.

Everything had unfolded just the way that he had expected it would right up to his twenty-fourth birthday.

On his twenty-fourth birthday, George had woken up with the ability to move things with his mind.

He did some research on the internet.  Telekinesis, it was called, the sort of ability that showed up on X-Men or X-Files or Star Trek, not in real life.  But George had been hit in the head with his toothbrush and toothpaste.  He had narrowly ducked his razor and a mug half full of coffee from the day before, so it was hard to deny that something awfully strange was going on.

He had called in sick for a week—and then had to get Edward to get a co-worker to write him a doctor’s note—as he tried to get this bizarre new power under control.  Nothing said “Call in the experts” like objects flying at someone all the time; he’d no more think that he wanted it and then it would come to him.

It was hard to be in denial when the manifestation was so physical and obvious.  Even without going into the medical profession, George knew full well that there was so much that they didn’t understand about the human brain.  And it wasn’t like he was invincible or could fly or anything.  This was just moving things without touching them.

George had no interest in being committed and no interest in being dissected, so for the first time in his life, the fact that he was pretty unremarkable seemed like the best thing in the world.  He just needed to keep this under wraps, and no one would be the wiser.

Not using powers that you possessed was a lot harder than George had thought it would be, and he found himself following in the footsteps of Clark Kent.  Even if Superman was fictional, George figured that the nerds who had written him had spent more time thinking about how to make it work than most people had.

He changed his last name—a nom de plume, for anyone who asked—and he started writing as an economist since that was what he actually knew how to do.  Then he just sort of … drifted determinedely towards the police/crime section.

He wouldn’t deny that it had occurred to him that his sort of ability would make him uniquely qualified as a thief, but he couldn’t seem to shake the image of how disappointed his mother would be.  Nor was it subtle, and since he had these abilities, there was no saying that other people didn’t too, and he wouldn’t want to be one of the bad guys that the good guys finally came after.

Not being found out was his top priority, but it was always at war with his need to be able to live with himself; he couldn’t do nothing, but the more he did, the bigger the chance of his being discovered.  He told no one about what he could do, figuring it was safest for everyone that way.

He did little things, mostly.  Popped tires, turned out lights, turned guns slightly so that aims were off, tripped criminals up, deflected falling objects, that sort of thing.  His range was far from limitless, and the larger and heavier an object was, the harder it was for him to move.

George had been working with a new partner, Catherine, for a couple of months.  She thought he should go back to writing about the economy.  Since she was beautiful and dark-haired, George got distracted by images of Clark Kent and Lois Lane with more frequency than was probably healthy.  But there were a couple more parallels than George would have liked, and he didn’t have an alter ego to impress her.  Cat found him annoying, and he found her more appealing than he would have liked.

It was a good thing his life wasn’t flashy, or he could probably market the story in Hollywood.

When the attack came, they were in an alley.  It was the middle of the night and pouring rain.  They didn’t even know which story had hit too close to home.

It happened so fast.  He worked better when he could see what he was doing; the gunmen were hidden, so while he did his best to pull their guns away from them, he knew that the results were likely to be imperfect.  All the same, the sound of shooting faltered.

They huddled behind a dumpster that George had brought whizzing closer to them.  Cat called 911.  All they had to do was wait it out.

There was the sound of a shot and that horrid burst of light before they even glimpsed movement in front of them.  George tried to stop the bullet, he did, but Cat stiffened beside him, and he knew that he had failed.

George didn’t remember reacting.  All he was thinking as Cat collapsed against him was that if he could move things with his mind, then he could stop the bleeding, keep her heart beating, and keep her alive.

He should have studied anatomy with Edward.

He rode in the ambulance with Cat.  She had not regained consciousness, and he had trouble attending to anything that was being said as he poured all of his mental abilities into something he didn’t know how to do.

They rushed her into the operating room, and George, a little bit overwrought at this point, thought about how healing was a great gift and why didn’t it get more attention in comic books and films?

He waited.  The police talked to him and reported that all three armed men had been found unconscious.  He quite truthfully relayed that he had no idea how that had happened and told them what meagre details he could.

He waited some more.

Just before dawn, the doctors brought him the news that Cat had made it out of the operating room and she was in intensive care.  Normally only family could go in there, but an assumption seemed to have been made about their relationship, and George didn’t try to correct it.

Cat looked horribly pale, small and lifeless instead of filled with that boundless energy that normally invigorated her.  George pulled up a chair and refused to move from her side unless they kicked him out.

It was thirty-six hours later that she regained consciousness, a low moan of pain alerting him, and he watched as those beautiful green eyes blinked open.  They were currently bloodshot with dark circles under them, but it was still the most welcome sight in the universe.

“Hey,” he said softly, “how you feeling?”

She had trouble focussing on him, her look one of confusion, but it sharpened suddenly to a look that he knew he should recognize, though he could not quite place it.

Her voice was low and raspy, but perfectly understandable.  “I know what you did.”

Nurses bustled in, alerted to her consciousness, and George allowed himself to be shoved out of the way.

He should have recognized it immediately.  It was the look Cat got when she had found a story.

He was sure that she was going to pull through, and he couldn’t regret the part that he had played in ensuring that had happened.  But he wouldn’t be a freak show for anyone.

George went to work and refused to be talked out of his resignation.  He went home and packed.  He had chosen a way of life, and there was only one way to preserve it.

He disappeared.

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George’s family can be seen in Infinite Possibilities, T’Was the Night Before Christmas, Expect the Unexpected, The Dangers of a Red Shirt, ConspicuousConsequences,  Falling-OutThe Uses of Math, and Subliminal Salvation.

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4 Responses to “anonymity by phoenix.writing”

  1. juleshg June 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    I love this story and how he wrestled with the good vs. evil (theft vs. crime fighting) A very sad ending — I wonder if he will come back to find Cat later in life.

    • phoenix.writing September 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

      I’m glad that you enjoyed it; I tried to fit as much of a moral struggle into a story this short as I could. And I try not to leave my protagonists hanging for too long. 😉

  2. ingridfnl June 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    I love how this explores the hard part of his blessing/curse, and I feel sad that feels he must flee… I love that you approached this with such realism…

    • phoenix.writing September 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

      Since we needed to make this connect to one of our previous stories and I’d already linked so many of my stories together, I really wanted to try to make it fit in to the “regular” world that I’d created, and I’m glad you felt I succeeded. 🙂

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