The Empath by Kd Rose

11/15/16 11:44:19PM
112 posts

Stuck in traffic again.

There was a redness seeping from all the cars. Not well-formed but the cars seethed brick red. The longer she looked at her watch the more the traveling red seemed to thicken, conquering like an insidious fog among all the cars. Tufts of black puffed in sync from the roofs as well. But the black sprung up in small popping motions. Silent explosions, as if each car were an iron factory releasing fumes from the stacks.

If she felt hard she could feel greens and blues trickling through here and there among the red cloud which now seemed to cover everything in sight. The greens and blues, and oh, some silver there, wound their way in and out like small fishing lines wriggling amidst a larger more overpowering current.

The man behind was thinking so hard. Intense, subdued waves that came into her car. He was focused on her car in front of his as the representative of what needed to "GET OFF THE ROAD!" Oh how he hurt her ears.

"Why are you covering your ears dear?'' chirped her mother. "Traffic here seems much more civilized than I've seen at other times. All those nasty horns."

Her mother sent out little silvery wisps with her speech. They floated and began evaporating as soon as they formed. She watched them each break down delicately. It reminded her of watching bubbles burst in slow motion.

"Headache." She answered. Her mother seemed satisfied. Hey, it was plausible.

She was starting to feel sticky. The red fog had some elements of gray, then some brown, as people began to get complacent about the situation, settling in for the long haul of.....waiting. She felt it through her windows, the musty feeling of an old basement, still dank after a rain. She shivered a little. Her skin didn't like the touch.

"Oh dear," said her mother, "you're not catching a cold are you?" her concern wafted over in blue cotton.

"I'll be fine mother. Just anxious to get home," she answered.

"Well, dear, you know what they say about patience," said her mother, now content and beginning to flip through a magazine.

She tried to remember what it was about patience, but saw her mother's thought fragment split apart with distraction, so she turned her attention once again to the road.

Tasting metal now. Why was she tasting metal? Oh, she saw, as they crept a few feet up. A radio station on the side of the road. Honing everything together. Lots of focus. Lots of energy. Lots of metal in her mouth.

She took out a piece of gum.

"That will rot your teeth dear." There was no form to that statement. No thought existed behind it. It popped like carbonated soda.

The hair on the back of her neck was standing up. There was a cat....

........instinctual fear....somewhere. She craned her neck but couldn't see it. Her mind felt around and it seemed to be crouched someplace off the side of the road. Perhaps behind a bush.

The cars sped up by a mile or two. Her heart raced unexpectedly. An overload of anticipation and expectation came at her from all directions. Behind the wheel she almost felt like ducking. But she could see the scene, an accident, and the reason for the traffic jam up ahead in the distance. The mass expectation that soon they would be moving was built on nothing real. She knew they were in for several more miles (and how much more time?) of this.

Sure enough, waves of indigo hope turned into orange spears of disappointment. She concentrated on making herself non-solid. No–that was not the word for it. She concentrated on the part of herself that could allow. Yes, that was it. Allow things to pass through her. She felt their spears come but focused on allowing. The orange spears began to drip and distort. Soon an orange-blue waterfall began passing through her as if she were a sieve.

Where did it go? Where did all of it go? She saw the waterfall transformed by its contact with her. Now it was orange sparkles. Minute, delicate sparkles emitted from her. A delightful picture. The orange sparks put on a show, snapping in front of her with life, and then began dancing away, each one still a small burst of energy.

She saw them come into contact with various people within her sight.

As a spark hit someone they would involuntarily smile. She closed her eyes for a

second. A happy thought, it seemed. The dancing sparkles evoked happy thoughts.

Her mother was smiling. "Do you remember that homemade stew your grandfather used to make? Wasn't that the best you ever tasted? I'm going to have to make some when we get home!"

She didn't bother to reply.

And then, "now I don't know why I just thought of that." Her mother's face became quizzical.

"Yes," she smiled at her mother, "It was delicious." In fact her own memory of the stew had just spread a warm sensation through her. Like brandy flowing in her veins. "Yes, it would be wonderful to fill up on that again".

"Well cooking is what I'll do then," said her mother, "as soon as we get home! I think I'm in the mood to do some creating." Her mother went happily back to reading.

Meanwhile, she turned to other things. The red fog was getting more insistent; she felt it crushing the space around her car. Weighing heavily in the air. Puffs of black exuded from the others tops at a faster rate. And the billows were bigger. She started coughing. Her throat felt as if it were in a roomful of smoke. A dry cough.

Pressure began building up from everything on the road. Something was forming itself. Taking in all the red fog, the black puffs...the grays and the browns. Absorbing individual orange spears here and there. Collecting everything in its path.

Making itself.

She began to feel afraid. She couldn't see it yet, but it was happening alright. And the thing was so big.

She was allowed to move up a little. A car swooshed into the small space between her and the next car. She slammed on her brakes. The swoosh of the car was followed by a small lightening streak behind it. The lightening seemed to start from the interloper and return back to it like a boomerang. The car had an afterglow of electric static.

Her head hurt. For real this time.

The massive thing continued to form. Like an otherworldly architect, incorporating the environment into its structure. She could see faint outlines now of where it would be, though it wasn't tangible yet. Her head hurt and her throat itched and she wanted to be home. Small brown trails of pus were oozing from her. She instinctually stopped her

self-pity and refocused on the road. She noticed horns further in the background. Her car crept up a little more.

There was bright blue up ahead. A neon colored circle. She recognized it as the intense concentration of the workers at the accident. There was no red fog around them. It was as if an invisible wall of ten feet or so protected the center of the accident. No red fog within. There was only bright blue there and, yes she saw some bright yellow, stark fear as well. Uh oh, it must be bad.

She looked at the cars up near the accident and those beyond. At once she saw an overview of the stretch of road. She became aware of two eyes staring at her from a great distance. She was used to these eyes. They came and went. She was never sure if someone was watching her or if she was watching herself. They were midnight black; deep, penetrating, and focused. When they came she knew they pierced into what seemed like the core of her. Often they would focus on an overview that she herself could not sense. Like a puzzle picture completed. Other times they zoomed in like a telephoto lens focused on one microscopic detail. Sometimes she got their picture sometimes she didn't.

But she was diverted from the eyes for a second. The thing had formed! She felt it behind her approaching. A gaseous, noxious.....

But wait– somewhere at the same time she heard for the first time a tinkling. A silvery tinkling sound from....

Above? Yes, above.

Well at least not part of the fog, not affected by the toxic THING. The tinkling was the lightest bell. Like a bell made of feathers. And yet it made a sound. She thought it the most beautiful thing she'd ever heard. It seemed set apart from everything.

Yet, she heard it. When she strained to hear it louder, it seemed to go farther away. When she didn't strain, it almost seemed like...yes...although it was apart, it was also inside. But that doesn't make sense, she thought.

Or, now it sounded like a bird. The far off melody of a songbird above the din. No, not above, deeper. Ahh. It was a sound so light as to be inaudible, but with depth to penetrate the chaos all around. And it remained unaffected. Yes, that was what perplexed her. It remained entirely itself among the rest, and yet it was in no way separate. She listened, rapt.

She smelled evergreen somewhere.

Her gaze was drawn back to the eyes, still there. Unblinking, unmoving, focused lasers into the scene. This was one of the times she saw the other eye's picture.

The snapshot was an overview of the road. The road she and all the others were on.

Her car wasn't quite up to the accident, which she knew now must have entailed death. But the other eyes saw the road scene she had already left behind as well as the rest up ahead. Past that too. She saw through the eyes for a minute, though she recognized that she was not taking in the expanse that the eyes themselves could see. Perhaps she just could not translate what seemed too far in the distance. It appeared to her as blurry, though she knew the other eyes must be seeing it as perfectly clear.

What she could see seemed to be the parts closer to her. There was the murky red veil of fog behind her. She saw it went way back now. The line of traffic snaking back over hills and down beyond for what seemed like forever. Somewhere past that there was no red fog. But this was dimmer to her view. A place she assumed existed clearer, probably filled with only the little individual traits of pinks and turquoises, maybe whites and purples. Little streamers from drivers, zooming forth in what seemed like empty space, unaware of their own creation up ahead.

The red fog in front of her stood like an impenetrable wall. The majority of the road was opaque from it now. She ignored the desire to glance in her own rear view mirror and instead kept her vision internal, in sync with the other eyes still. She could see her little car, if she looked carefully.

The red pollution was a ways back.

Up ahead she saw the death scene, still surrounded by blue. Only through the other eyes could she see purple as well. Her own vision has missed it. A rich, resonant purple that seemed to sing.

She could take in the picture as from a satellite shot. The mass of cars passing by slowed at the accident. The passengers, for all their previous hurry, were awed and quieted by the sight. Their change caused the red fog to dissipate. They surrounded themselves with the deep gray of contemplation. Not the smoky, gray haze of complacency from before, but one that was profound and stark. Even with the kaleidoscope of colors that she saw through the other eyes, these cars stood out. Like a solid wall of motion, past the neon blue, and singing purple of the death scene.

Beyond that she became blurry, but she could see another haze. It seemed sky blue. She wished the other eyes gave her more than sight, as she would have liked to feel up ahead with her mind, as she did other things. But all she could make out was a thin film of sky blue. She could tell it was not made of the same matter as the horrid red fog. Not the same material at all.

Suddenly the eyes withdrew, catching her by surprise, and she was back within her own senses again at the wheel. She turned to glance at the passenger seat and saw that her mother sat dozing, magazine on lap.

Then she did something unexpected. With no prior thought, she jerked her wheel sharp to the left and cut across a highway divider onto the other side of the road. She was now going the opposite direction.

She was also alone, as the commotion of death had blocked cars from traveling this side of the road. She would tell people later, "a little bird told me to do it." She looked over to where she had been, a little surprised that no other cars had done the same thing.

"I guess they were intent on where they were going," said her mother, awakened by the sudden turn of events.

"You don't mind, mother?" she asked. She caught a knowing smile on the corners of her mother's mouth and the twinkle in her eyes.

"No," her mother answered, with a grin that made her look years younger. Her eyes gazed into her daughters. "I just like to go." Pink cotton candy emitted from her mom, surrounding a circle of beautiful purple.

Nah, it couldn't be, she thought to herself.

She put her foot on the gas and floored it.

updated by @americymru: 11/15/16 11:44:52PM