Practise. Short Story

Happy Monday! Hope everyone’s weekend went well, we put up some Christmas decorations, not the tree though, just garland as my mum was doing an essay and I was too tired to continue on, so we’ll probably get the rest done today and tomorrow.

Other than that everything is normal, I’m hoping for snow some stage this year, any snow at all will do! I don’t need it to be as much as last year but I need my fix! I might move to Alaska or Canada or Greenland or something. At least then there would be snow.

Right, I’m off to make pancakes so, on with the show!


Practise. Short Story.

He was getting better at it, not perfect yet, but getting there. That was one thing the movies and comics always got wrong, how long it took to get used to this kind of crap. It’d been almost a month but there were still problems. He would wonder how the hell it looked so easy, especially in the beginning when each effort left him shaking and coated in a thin sheen of sweat. There were probably others like him out there who would know or be able to train him to some degree, he couldn’t be alone but really, how to find out? Who to ask?

Will had gotten sick just over a month ago, it was a quick illness but severe, he couldn’t eat or drink anything for two days, anything that was put into his body was immediately expelled. He had a high fever, almost delirious most of the time. Even now he wondered how he survived, but survive he did and, after a few days, he began to get a strange itch.
That was really the only way he had to describe it, a strange itch somewhere deep in his brain. It was annoying at first, then infuriating, driving him almost to madness. Then, finally it stopped, he was watching TV at the time, trying to distract himself when he suddenly realised it was gone. He looked around the room in bewilderment trying to figure out what had happened to cause this blessed relief. That was when the glass fell to the ground and the itch returned. He didn’t want to believe it at first, but he knew he had seen it floating. It took a few hours of practise and intense concentration before he was able to repeat the feat. He managed to keep a glass floating for almost five minutes before lowering it again. When he finished the itch had disappeared completely, but he was dripping in sweat and almost shaking from the exertion. It seemed as though, now that, that part of his brain was recognised by him, it ceased it’s demand for attention. He started to practise and while he was getting better, it was painfully slow. He worked on building up strength first, rather than accuracy and while now he could lift the couch for a few seconds, he couldn’t send it in one direction, or place it down exactly where it was. It still wobbled and shook slightly, as though aware he was having difficulty, but he was getting better. He thought that maybe he would be able to lift a person for a minute or so.

He stopped trying to gain strength and decided that accuracy would be better and began to practise that instead, ignoring the heavier items he was used to lifting, going instead for the lighter things to ease himself into aiming. Each morning he tried to pour cereal and milk into his bowl, every time time he smiled, remembering the scene from Matilda where she attempted the same thing. He continued going to work but found it harder to pay attention and sometimes, absentmindedly, a pen would rise up and move toward him, or roll across the table. No one had noticed yet, but it was only a matter of time. He had caught himself doing it once or twice, but wondered how many times he had done it without realising. He didn’t really know what he was going to do with his new found power, he couldn’t exactly share it with anyone, but it felt important to build it up anyway.

He was happy now with his progress, still a little shaky on everything of course, but getting there. It was during work that he had his new idea. It seemed slightly idiotic at first, after all, how would it work? But then the idea of telekinesis was idiotic only a month ago. Maybe his new ability extended beyond telekinesis, maybe, he could control things other than objects, maybe, he would be able to control sentient things. Will’s first attempt was Stacy. She was always talking on the phone, moaning about something, she was mid stride in another tirade to a friend when he tried to make her hang up. The phone moved slightly from her ear and towards the cradle, she glanced at it for a second then went back to who ever she was talking to. It was only something small, but it was a start. Over the next few days he practised until he could make her hang up, just by sending the thought at her. He was quite proud of this as it would take more effort to get her to do something she didn’t want to. It was clear she was confused, but she couldn’t exactly complain about it to anyone, not without admitting she was wasting company resources.

The next task seemed slightly easier, but the progress would most likely be slower. She always wore far too much perfume, thick clouds of it followed her, most people knew if she had been in the break room in the last ten minutes because of that damn perfume. There was no real way to bring it up tactfully and so most people had just accepted it and, if possible opened the window to allow some fresh air in. He gave her a little push one day, not much, but enough to send the thought that she had too much perfume on, that it seemed like she was drowning in it. She paused and sniffed the air, looking slightly disconcerted, then she looked around hurriedly, to see if anyone was staring at her. After a few moments she managed to get back to her work but she kept looking around. He wasn’t sure, but he thought that maybe it had worked immediately after all. He sent the thought a bit more during the day, once every couple of hours, just to be sure. Every time he did it, she looked around nervously, but it seemed to be working well.

Will never really considered the ramifications of what he was doing, it was all just a little experiment and he was lucky that he was able to learn his lesson over something so small. The next day Stacy came in, devoid of that stagnant stench of perfume that hung around her. Instead it was replaced with the faint, but very noticeable smell of body odour, getting stronger through out the day. He tried to reassure himself, that she had just forgotten as she adjusted to her new morning routine. The next day came and again there was that unmistakable smell of an unwashed body, however, it was stronger today. He wondered if he made her swear off all scented products. What if she stopped showering for fear that the smell of the soaps would be too overpowering. He couldn’t decide what to do until the third day, but even then he was hesitant because he didn’t want to make things worse. He was careful this time, trying to tell her her to bathe and wear deodorant and even small dabs of perfume. She again looked around, but for the rest of the day she looked slightly confused. He sent the thoughts a few more times to try to reinforce them, to make them overpower the original thought he sent her.

When she came in again, she was wearing a slight amount of perfume, but only a slight amount, the rank smell of body odour was gone and her hair was cleaner. He had not noticed at the time, but her hair had been getting greasier each day.

He decided that he would stay away from sending such thoughts, after all, who knew what would happen the next time, it might set something off or destroy the persons life, if he wasn‘t around to correct his mistake who knew how long it would have taken Stacy to start bathing again.
It was soon after this revelation that he had his first encounter. He was walking home from work, he had left the office later than usual, trying to clear some last minute problems on a project and it was getting dark. The streets were pretty much empty, he could see a few people in the distance but they were scurrying away to their own homes. The streetlights had come on, bathing everything in yellow light, distorting everything. He was passing an alley when he heard scuffling and a muffled scream, looking in he saw two men robbing a woman. She was bruised and bloodied, lying on the ground as they rifled through her bag. One of the men took a wallet out of the bag and slid it into his pocket. “This is shit. Only a wallet. You stupid bitch.” The thug holding the bag threw it aside. “I think we’ll take something else in trade.” he moved toward her, the other darting forward to restrain her. She shouted and struggled, tears running down her face.

“Hey, the fuck are you doing, leave her alone” “Fuck off man, you don’t want to get involved.” Will moved toward the alley, the one advancing on the girl stopped and turned, sneering, he pulled a knife from his pocket. “You really wanna die for some dumb bitch.” “Look, just let her go and you won’t get hurt.” “You? Hurt us? It’s two against one and I don’t see no weapon on you bud.” “Seriously. I’m not joking.” “Neither am I” The man had been advancing steadily, he stopped, then lunged.
“The fuck?” He was frozen, mid air, before being launched backwards into the wall. The man holding the girl let her go, raising his hands in the air. “I don’t want trouble man. Seriously, look I’m leavin” as he began to back up, the knife jerked slightly, scraping off the ground, before rising and hanging in the air. It spun a few times, as though the point was seeking something. It stopped it‘s mad spin, pointing directly at the man. He turned and ran, making it half way down the alley before the knife plunged into his back, he crumpled to the ground, gasping and groaning. The first man stirred, regaining consciousness.

Will felt anger coursing through him, building, his heart beat wildly in his chest, he glanced at the girl, still lying on the ground and felt the anger rise again, bubbling over, he let it take control, directing it at the low life, the man who had been struggling to get up froze, then his whole body jittered, slamming backwards against the wall, as though he was having a seizure. Blood started to run freely from his nose and eyes, coursing down his face like bloody tears of repentance but it was too late for him. His eyes bulged, then exploded. The lifeless body shook for a few more seconds before lying still.

The man with the knife in his back had been dragging himself forward, trying to get away. Will glanced at him and the man started to shake like the other. After a few seconds his face exploded, sending gore against the walls either side of the alley. It quelled his anger slightly, looking at the two dead men, but still it was there, thick and strong.

The girl seemed to be coming around, she looked dazed, unsure of what had happened, “Thank you I-” He looked at her, she recoiled from the anger she saw radiating from him she stared at him, terrified for a few brief seconds before her eyes rolled into the back of her head. She began to shake, small droplets of blood splashing against the ground and walls. He tried to stop it, that sick anger, but it had taken control completely.  She groaned before her teeth clamped down, severing part of her tongue. She jittered once more then stopped. Her eyes widened before there was a strange pop.

He looked at the scene before him and vomited. The girl lay on the ground, her skin pale, her cooling body still, chunks of her brain were dribbling down the wall behind her, the other two men lay in pools of their own blood, gore seemed to cover every surface. He didn’t mean to, he didn’t mean to kill her, he only wanted to help, that was all. Just help. He turned from the alley, still pale, a few drops of vomit clinging to his lips, he stumbled down the road, trying to put as much distance between him and the carnage he caused as possible. It was his fault. Oh god, what had he done. He only wanted to help.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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