Gifted. Short Story.

I’ve been a bit all over the place the last few days, it was a hectic week last week and I’m glad that things are dying down a bit. Extremely emotional few days to say the least! That and very little sleep. Seems like a long, long time ago.

I read Joyland by Stephen King the other day, not sure what I thought of it. I enjoyed it, but it seemed like it was building to something (which it does) though I thought that something would happen sooner and that the ending would be a bit more drawn out/climactic, particularly due to some of the hints/phrases that are thrown around by the main character.

I’m looking forward to tearing through some more books, went through a bit of a dry spell where I was too tired to read, then by a period where I was rereading some books which is always fun, (at least for me, I am aware this isn’t something many people enjoy.) however I want to start reading new stuff.

I’ve cleared out a space for me to work in now, one I intend  to actually use. Also, have a new computer! (Well, new as in, it’s been moved into the work space) and it has internet! The old computer I had in my work space couldn’t connect to the internet, which is handy for stopping procrastination, but less handy if I ever need to look up something or put up a post. So All new and exciting work space. I’m hoping I’ll get a lot more work done over the next few weeks, particularly as I have nothing hanging over me now.

I hope that everyone’s week is going awesomely!

On with the show!

____________________________________________________________

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do.” “What? But you said be here at 9 yesterday, well here I am.” “I’m sorry, but you were warned that if the tests did not come back negative you wouldn’t be allowed to proceed and you tested positive.” “That’s impossible. The test was wrong, do it again.” “I’m afraid that isn’t an option.” “Well do fucking something then, don’t just sit there and tell me you’re sorry.” He balled his hands into fists, wanting to hit something. The secretary’s face changed from sympathetic to blank. “Sir, if you are going to take that tone with me, I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave.” He took a deep breath and released it, “look, I’m sorry, I really am. I expected everything to go smoothly today, that my life would be changed forever, I was looking forward to this so much, I need it. I really, really do.” The secretary glanced around, the people who had been watching went back to their phones and books once it was apparent there would be no public spectacle. “You could try applying for the study again. There is no guarantee you will be picked, but you’ll find out a lot sooner, they’ll do two blood tests to prove your clean, once when you apply again and once before the procedure. If there was a mix up, and you are clean, you should test fine. The deadline to apply for the new study is tomorrow at three. Same rules as before, fill out the form and bring it in.” He smiled, “thank you, really, thank you so, so much.”

She smiled again, a real smile, not one she used often “You’re welcome. I’m sorry about today” her face hardened “if your new tests come back positive too, there will be nothing we can do. Think long and hard about this, if you test positive again you’ll be banned for participating in any future studies associated with us.” He nodded, there would be no worries there, he hadn’t used in over three years. The secretary slid forms across the table. “Come back tomorrow morning with these filled out. I’ll put a note here that makes sure the doctors read your file, they were interested enough in you to allow you to be part of the study, it might be enough to get you onto the next.” He picked up the form and walked out, already the receptionist began to dial the phone beside her, going through her list of back ups.

He stepped outside the shining glass building and took a deep, calming breath, allowing the last threads of anger to disappear. It wasn’t good to hold onto them, especially not now. The only thing that had kept him calm in there, calm enough to stay in control, was the thought that maybe it was some kind of pre-test, make sure he could follow orders, make sure he could stay calm. He waited a moment longer, then started to walk. It definitely wasn’t a pre-test. He clutched the application close to himself, worried he might lose it. He stepped into the first coffee shop he saw and ordered a black coffee, “That’ll be 3.50” The coffee shop was empty of anyone but the workers, it was between rushes, he smiled. After a moment the cashier reached out, mimed taking money and putting into the drawer, then he was passed a receipt. “Thank you, you can pick your coffee up over there.” He smiled, then shivered slightly, god that felt good. Been a while since he had done it. He took his coffee and sat at one of the tables, the chair were comfortable and he’d be here a while.

It took him three hours to fill out the forms again, damn things were a pain. He read over it once, then picked up his coffee, it was still half full, despite it being cold he downed it, and threw the paper cup into the bin. He left the coffee shop feeling better than he had in the last few days. He was going to get into the study, he was. They must have just mixed up his blood tests with someone with a similar name. He heard of it happening before. He hadn’t lied about needing it, he really did. Oh sure it would be a benefit for him in the long run, but right now, he needed the money. They were supposed to teach him, test him. He applied saying he wanted his powers eliminated, that was what they were testing after all, some new drug. They’d train him, make him more powerful, then see how much dosage they’d need to keep him unable to use it. See that was the worst thing about it all, the longer you went without using it, the more you needed to. There had been nights where he’d wake up when something crashed against the wall and there were mornings where his entire apartment, shitty though it was, had been cleaned and rearranged. Things like that couldn’t keep happening to him. Once they had figured out the dosage, they’d give it to him for free and he’d no longer be living illegally. They didn’t mind that, they looked past the fact that he lived in a human only part of town, that he wasn’t registered to the government. Once he had the pills he’d pass all the government tests, there would be no more worry of being caught in a random sweep and search, where hundreds of people were randomly herded into one of the testing centres. No, this would keep him safe, protected. It was supposed to block both the receptors in his brain and his glands from secreting it, no test could detect him. A few people, mostly government types with little power wanting to boost their career, suggested it would be used by criminal elements, the drugs were going to be made addictive, not much, but enough to make the withdrawals unpleasant enough. Anyone who went on it would need it. He himself wasn’t getting tested with that just yet. They had some concerns over how addictive the addictive part was. Last he heard the previous batch of humans tested needed it intravenously, otherwise they’d die as soon as it stopped. They had separated the two components and he was certain he’d be able to smuggle out a pill or two, get some more made up. Taking it was instantaneous. He didn’t know how they managed that, nor did they care, but the important thing was that as soon as it was swallowed, he was protected for seventy-two hours. Sure that made things a little annoying and messy, but it was perfect for emergencies. The police could only hold a person for forty-eight hours on suspicion of being IH, but after the blood tests showed you were clear, they could do nothing to you. Of course he suspected that they’d put some identifying marker in the pills too, make it easy for the police to know if you were taking anything, but his people would be able to strip that away. He was certain of it.

He jogged up the stairs of his building, he wanted to burn off a little energy. He hadn’t had any work in a few days, but he’d be rolling in money in no time. He let himself into his apartment and went to the fridge, he wasn’t supposed to eat for twenty-four hours before the procedures and now he was starving. They had explained it all, but he didn’t pay too much attention. He couldn’t eat for the first few tests so they could figure out his base dose, then food would be allowed. They said something about a few of the procedures needing him to be sedated or something.  He grabbed out a container of Chinese food, he took a sniff, it smelled a little off. He stared at the box for a moment, soon it smelt fine and was steaming gently. He grabbed a fork and started to eat. Things would begin to look up for him again. He had been given a gift, his mother always said so, and he intended to use it to his advantage.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 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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