Friday, October 22, 2010

#FlashFriday - The empath

I've decided to join up with Twitter's #FlashFriday.  Time to reach out to even more potential readers, and get more writing samples up here.

This flash is about a young empath who just doesn't know how to shield herself against others, and her journey to the grocery store.





Bonnie clenched her fists around her book, suppressing a shiver, and took another step closer to the bus stop.  There were two teenagers sitting there, chatting to themselves, and already Bonnie sensed them, their flaring emotions battering her sensitive mind.  Bonnie hated being in public for just this reason, but there was no way to avoid this.  She needed food, and her guardian Leslie was still out of town.

The wild empath had to brave not only the grocery store, but public transportation.
    
Hovering behind the bus stop, shaking, Bonnie look down the street.  The teens were loud, laughing and joking, ignoring the world around them.  They didn't care that their excess energy was painful to someone like her.  In all her years, only her guardian understood that.  Young people always seemed the worst, boisterous and overly full, some of them overjoyed to be alive.
    
Bonnie would be merely annoyed if she didn't have to suffer so much.
    
The bus rumbled toward the stop, and Bonnie winced.  She was already aware of the people on board, a tide of heavy emotions threatening to overwhelm her.  Bonnie almost ran, but forced herself to approach the waiting vehicle.  Her hand trembled as she inserted her bus fare, then made her way to a secluded seat near the rear doors.
    
Opening her book, Bonnie buried herself in the fantasy story, trying to focus only on the words.  It worked for all of two minutes, until the overwhelming air of defeat pressed around her slender shoulders.  The young woman chewed on her lower lip, her muscles tightening.  There was a day laborer sitting two seats behind her, brooding on his lack of prospects, on the helplessness of his life.  Bonnie swallowed hard, trembling as she fought off the pain he felt.
    
The teenagers were getting off, standing by the exit door, and their manic energy bashed against her again.  Some of the misery receded, but it loomed in the back of her mind, waiting to attack her again.  Her lip began to ache from her teeth, and Bonnie's vision began to blur.  She drew a deep breath, shivering, and let her eyes close.
   
She just needed to focus, like Leslie said.  Put walls around herself, protect her mind.
    
The bus rocked to a halt, and it stirred the emotive cloud around her.  Bonnie bit back a cry, clinging to her book, and huddled in her seat as the teens and a young mother got off the bus.  A gaggle of mid twenties men clambered on, all of them loud and brash, radiating arrogance and bravado.  Bonnie shrunk into herself while they hovered around the fare box, and she prayed they would stay in the vacant seats near the front.
    
They swarmed to the back of the bus, voices grating against her nerves.  Bonnie's stomach clenched as the distasteful feel of their energy lapped across her skin, breaking her concentration.  She wanted to scream, and cringed against the window, keeping her gaze in her book.  The young woman didn't want to draw any attention to herself.  She would certainly have a breakdown if anyone focused on her.
    
The store was only another stop ahead.
    
It was the longest stretch, however.  Bonnie frowned as the traffic light turned red.  The group behind her was growing more obnoxious, laughing hysterically at some private joke, their presences abrading her nerves. 

The laborer was getting off at the next stop, and he worked his way through the group to the exit.  His frustration had increased, and now included anger at the young men. 

Bonnie squirmed in her seat, wanting it all to go away.  Someone's child started screaming, and the group's frustration bit into her.  The girl wanted to squall like the child, to let the world know just how upset she was.  But she could only endure as the bus slowly wheeled through the intersection.
    
The bus came to a halt with a hiss, and Bonnie rose, eager to exit.  She was fast on the heels of the laborer, bursting into the fresh air with a sigh of relief.  There were still people around her, their emotions swirling through the air, but they were no longer confined by the bus.
    
Drawing several deep breaths, Bonnie readied herself for her next ordeal.

4 comments:

  1. Very emotive piece. It really would be torturous to be that empathic and not have the tools needed to block it all out. You made me feel for her.

    Welcome to #FridayFlash. I added your story to the Report.
    ~jon

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  2. It would be incredibly scary to have to absorb or feel other people's emotions to the extent that Bonnie does here. Wonderful story. I was squirming and pressing myself into a smaller and smaller space with her, as she sat on that bus, and I gulped when she stepped off it. Great piece.

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  3. JM: Thank you much. I'm so glad to be part of #FridayFlash.

    Kath: *grins* That's exactly what I was going for. Thank you.

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  4. Eesh, buses are bad enough without having to deal with strangers' emotions. Well written, welcome to #fridayflash :)
    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

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