You’re a highschool student with the ability to “connect” to someone else’s mind, seeing their memories and knowledge. You successfully use this ability to cheat on tests, until one day you connect and see an exact copy of your own memories.
The day started in a hell scape of pain and torture; commonly known as first period gym class. I could read it in the teacher’s eyes that he had had a bad time at his home, and his wife was getting tired of picking up after his burgeoning alcoholism, which meant that today was going to be a hellish practice for the health examinations coming up soon.
Nobody wanted to come up short for those, each casualty reduced funding.
Second period was different; Mr. Krel was gone again, and his substitute spoke in a thick accent I couldn’t understand, and given the thoughts of everyone else in the room, nobody else could either.
Another day without a single answer. Another day without a single modicum of effort.
Another day without a single damned person caring.
Third period came and went with no deviations. I busied myself by vicariously reading the book that jess had smuggled into the corner. She liked to pretend the teacher didn’t know about it, but everyone knew the teacher just didn’t give a damn.
Fourth period, a test, of course, I flicked across Miss Seras’s head to skim the answers off of the sheet in front of her and felt myself reflected in her tawny gaze. Felt my thoughts mirrored. For a few horrified seconds, I thought I’d finally manage to break my own ability, and as things came and reflected back and forth quicker and quicker, stretched into the infinite beyond, her head lazily snapped over to mine.
“You, Sam.” Her finger snapped out and pointed at me. For a chasmous, trembling moment, I could hear each and everyone of my thoughts reflected back. Could hear each and every pronunciation of my guilt, glorious, incandescent, roaring. “Let’s talk in the hallway.”
And… did that make her like me?
Miss Seras calmly waved the class to work on the next math problem, a ridiculous derivative that took up more than half the board in curving looping cursive scrawl, and walked into the hall, pausing in the door.
Did I dare deny her, or…
No. This was really an opportunity. I stiffened, fingers curled up into fists, and stepped outside with her. The hallway was vacant. Lazily, Seras looked around, and gestured at the side door.
“How’d you know?” I asked, heart racing. There was someone else. There was someone else!
“I’m better than you, Sam,” Seras said, shifting the side door open with her pointed elbow. Where age had shifted most of the teacher softer, it had just made the older woman pointier and pointier. Like covered in knives, but brittle, like a sea creature.
“Yes, but better than me at what?”
“The power of the soul, mostly,” Seras said, not looking at me for more than a moment.
My teeth clicked together.
The soul was…
I looked up to make sure I heard her right and caught the shine of-
A gun was pointing at me from across the yard. Cradled in her pointed bony fingers.
Oh. This wasn’t one of those moments where I’d finally learn something about myself in the magical place that was school.
This was one of those moments where the stupid kid gets punished for trusting his elders.
“Don’t move, Sam, I’ll make this quick and easy.” I stared at her for a long moment, my eyes going wider and wider. Heart thumped. Staring at the gun.
Not where I wanted to be, but I couldn’t move, couldn’t hear anything except the rapid proliferation of my own thoughts, my own-
A bird screeched behind her, flying by, and her arm jerked as she whirled about.
She still shot the gun.
The bullet still hit me, parting through fabric and flesh like it was nothing, hitting everything and nothing all at once, and then hitting my shoulder like a sledge hammer.
It’s not like in the movies where it knocks you back, but I fell to the ground like a cut puppet. Arm clutched the shoulder, the left hand twitching.
The crow screeched out again, and Seras stared at it, narrowing her eyes until it flew off.
More concerned with it than she was with me, bleeding out on the ground.
“Sorry about that, kid,” Seras said, flicking her gaze back down to me.
Then she tossed the gun forward. I reached out with my good hand to catch it, and it stopped, yards in the air. Then moved without strings or logic.
The gun hovered between my eyes. No arm attached to it.
It was curious, because I’d never really taken a long look at a gun before, and it was all I could think about, because it was shiny, chrome, and reeked of spent gunpowder from the agonizing pain wracking my shoulder.
I swallowed again.
“Now, isn’t it strange that, years after I’ve retired and done the hard work of vanishing from this very planet,” Miss Seras said. “That suddenly, very suddenly, another psionic appeared here. Miraculously. Just as this body was getting old.”
“I uh, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I jabbered, my tongue clipped by teeth. A long shudder of agony down my spine, a spiralling mass of hate and confusion. I hated, but I didn’t hate enough to stop the bullet, and I hated, and I was scared, and I was terrified, but nobody was going to come save me this time, and the gun hovered in front of me with no strings attached.
“But really, this is sort of a benefit for me, isn’t it?” She said, idly, the gun flicking to point at my heart instead. “Sorry Sam. It looks like it’s time for me to graduate to something younger myself.”
The gun went off.
Hot blood rose from my throat, bubbling from my lips, and my vision swam, and then oddly terrifying, there was this /shoving/ feeling as my mind
was tossed to the side
and left on the ground
Seras cried out using my lips. For a second, something vaguely smug reeked in her eyes, flickered across her face, and then she loosened back into blind panic and cried for help.
Her older body fell to the ground and slumped. Seizured out.
and I had nothing.