This is the tale of an ordinary person with extraordinary powers. By ordinary person, I do not mean a gallant and innocent hero-to-be, who by destiny stumbled upon the spotlight of having superpowers. By ordinary person, I mean the simplest and most unappealing human who had the fate of an extravagant gift, which to them proved all but superfluous.
There hasn’t been a checkpoint to be reached for months now. I haven’t felt the aura of an object in over fifty years. Both my powers and will are running scarce, and I am not sure which is rendering the other into submission and plunging. I’m not sure I’d even recognize an aura anymore. Would it blend in with my other senses, which are weakened and rendered ineffective by old age? I haven’t felt radiance in over fifty years damn it, fifty years. I’ve gone through my life guided by this compass, never took a step down a road whose aura I didn’t feel, never preached a word whose uproar I didn’t foretell. It’s pathetic really. This power, this gift. It’s supposed to be an aid to one seeking pleasure, but the only things I’ve been led to are amounts of money. What’s that supposed to mean? I never though much of this. I wish I had. I guess the quote “Ignorance is bliss” doesn’t apply when the universe revolves around what you feel and what you know.
My name is T. and I have a gift. Or had a gift. I cannot tell if it is I or my gift that is waning. Irrelevant. The way it works, or worked is this: Whenever I am about to take a step towards my future, am in a metaphorical fork so to speak, I can predict the possible outcomes. The descriptions auguring my options present themselves to me as epiphanies of information. It’s not a human sense because of that, because of the way I experience it. It’s simply information which is ingrained in my mind and one cannot tell what knowledge existed before and what knowledge begot. Senses are linked to perception, but that’s not what this is.
I’m not alone in this. I’m the only one who can sense auras. I’m also not the only person to know about auras. I used to know this old man. He was the one who told me I had powers, and my life was never the same after meeting him. Many and many decades ago, when I was a child everyday was the same. My bus left at 8, I woke up at 7. I was a youngster in elementary with 6 years to my age, 5 dollars to my pocket, 4 letters in my memory and 3 notebooks in my backpack, 2 pencils and my grade 1 book in hand. I had zero friends and thus always had the school bus window seat to myself. I’d see caramel shops with their display of pastel pink and blue cotton candy and utility poles as foreground to fleecy clouds which were my only sight on the way to school. Sometime in the spring, I had overslept and missed my bus. I was walking to school, running actually, when I felt a tight grip around my left ankle. It took all my might to avoid falling and when I saw that an old, wrinkly human hand was fixed to my foot, I shrieked. I screamed and squirmed, trying to kick that old man away from me. I turned away to see if anyway was on their way to help me but I was visually and auditorily invisible. When I grew aware of the futility of my actions, I turned around to only be met by the apathetic eyes of the man upon which I grew aware of a bigger picture. He closed his eyes and in a raspy voice he began to talk. Now, I don’t remember exactly what he said to me (reminder: I was 7 at the time), but he told me that I was special, that I had a gift and that I would never have a wish unfulfilled in my life. Though I was running late that day and he spoke for an hour, I arrived to school just in time.
My next encounter with someone who knew of auras wasn’t until I was 34. Until that day, I’d lived feigning retirement. Life was presented to me as an easy ride and I appreciated its lack of anxiety-inducing events. Most of my time went into simply following this scheme, having all and none of the power at the same time. I learned more of my power in an alleyway. I saw a man whose mind seemed to be going to and fro, and legs seemed to follow. Perhaps it was something in his eyes which told me, and something in my eyes which told him that we both shared this. Like blocks of granite which have been chiseled and dented by the events of life, we still had that minute space inside us which was never altered or exposed. Even if it was one particle, the sculptor never got to it. Though we weren’t the same shape or size anymore, the small marbles inside us were identical and acted as our compass. And somehow, we’d been led to each-other. Though he was equally surprised and mesmerized as I was to find another spiritual kindred, his interest was as ephemeral as his decision-making process. Perhaps I was an aura to him. Maybe I was a negative outcome. That is now irrelevant. Thought we did not speak much, he’s changed my life profoundly since we met. He taught me that our gift is not the search of money or need. It is of pleasure. He was a vigilante who loved secrets. He’d use his power to decide what to say in conversation to obtain sub rosa information. He liked adventure. He would yank locations, times, and names out of people whose auras radiated and they would all lead to some mystery being solved. He actually wrote all about it in a novel, which was categorized under fiction. I read it twice, but I couldn’t find anything about myself in it.
I haven’t made a penny since I met him. Technically, a week after I met him. That was when I won the lottery. It wasn’t hard to figure this out after that encounter.
I’ve always been a reckless child. Not in the sense of a brat, just apathetic. To a point, self-destructive. At some point in my childhood, I’d adopted a habit of never caring about my future beyond the four weeks before me. 30 days in advance, my whole life through. This was ingrained in my powers. The only outcomes I’d ever see had an expiration date, but also a validity of only thirty days. I couldn’t work hard and secure my living. I’d always spend all the money I’d get at most a month after I’d found it.
But then I won the lottery. From the circumstances entailing it, I seemed to have done that by pure chance. Though I know it was not because my power, this gift must have at least lowered the chances of it happening. Somehow I felt as if this was as likely as something such as quantum tunneling. Its probability most likely had more zeros behind the comma than my winnings ever would. More than I could spend in a month even. And I’m not sure if its because of the lottery or this half-assed epiphany of self-discovery which was followed by no endeavor of improvement or change whatsoever. For that reason I’ve saving and spending wisely. Until I came home last week and found out I’d been robbed. They left nothing behind.
I’ve been walking about town, clinging to my clutch and limping over the dusty boulevards and alleyways. I’m passing bridges that I’ve ran across and forks I’ve divided and conquered. I’m that seven year old kid again, walking down the path to school on a Saturday when there are no classes to be held but I have nothing to do. I’m kicking pebbles and witnessing bookshops and candy shops, and though I can’t afford anything inside, I’m already spoiled with nostalgia. There are no clouds in sight and though the sky is a monotonous blue, I feel it is overcast in dust and claustrophobia. Almost a heat wave. “Maybe its just my brittle body” I think when I see children running and playing tag with blouses and sweatshirts on. I walk all the way to my old school, past it, through an alley, down to the main road, and all the way to the new part of town. This is related to my later life of weekly lottery and horse-riding betting, sports bars and gamblers shoving me into alleyways, trying to yank out my secrets in desperation. I kick a pebble with my shoe, a different one from before. I keep this up and at some point, my attention is fully focused on the pebble. I kick it a second time, and a third, and by the fourth time my foot meets it, I’m too quick and too rough as it flies off and ricochets to a park-like area I do not recognize. It falls in between some shrub and I freeze in place. At a moment, my head tilts back and I rub my eyes and do everything I can to get my mind to start fathoming those eruptions into thoughts and my heart to quit pacing. But it is to no avail. There’s an aura in that shrub. I follow it and as I open the shrub, I’m distracted by a pigeon which suddenly launches over my shoulder. I turn to its location of flight and see an old people’s home. I don’t remember that. I quickly lower my gaze to the pebble radiating but it’s no longer there. The pebble is, but there is no aura. My mind, still overrun into haywire, outdoes the number assigned to my age and links it all together. Is this what was supposed to happen? I pace towards the old people’s home and by the sixth or seventh step, as soon as I leave the edge of the park area and approach the gate, I stumble. My clutch all but digs into my hip and I cry in pain. A bodyguard from the building runs towards me, positioning himself under my arm and carries me inside that building, my legs dragging along a waiting room and into a room labeled “STAFF ONLY” at the door.
“Betty, page the nurse over here.” the man calling is tall and well-built, but with soft features and big eyes. I can’t tell his age.
“Right away.” said Betty in a military voice, a dark-skinned short woman of about 30.
“I’m fine.” I say to the bodyguard. I see the name on his ID card”…Jim.”
“Please wait.” he says in a protocol, yet worried voice.
“I’m fine” I repeat, but then the nurse appears, blonde and middle-age, to whom I simply echo: “I am fine.”
“Is he a resident?” she asks Tim.
“Not sure. Found him collapsed on the sidewalk. Never seen him before.”
The nurse nods and pulls out a paper and pen which she straightens on her thigh.
“Do you know where you are?”she asks me.
“It’s an old people’s home.” I answer, but she only follows this statement with silence. “The park is across it. A new one. I’ve never seen either of these two before. ”
“Sounds like Alzheimer’s.” says the guard to the woman in a whisper. I pretend not to hear.
“Where do you live?” asked the nurse.
“In the suburb.”
“I haven’t come to this part of town…this town even, in decades. ”
“Ehem, okay.” she says and gets up to fill in some papers which seem to come out of nowhere. I start to feel a strange clenching in my jaw and stomach which evolve into pain and spread to my left arm and neck, juggling focus on discomfort or stinging agony. I try to get up, and as Betty leaps to hold me down, a shriek fills the room. It’s someone from the waiting room. Everyone rushes there. The door closes behind the nurse who is the last to leave. Silence. I almost feel too anxious to get up and leave simply because of the notability of my steps in this deafening stillness. Almost. I slip out through the back door, which for some reason has multiple entrances and exits for employees.
I’m back where I first fell but I’m significantly slower than last time. I still feel the pain in those areas and have started to break into a cold sweat. My vision is blurry but I swear I see an aura in that very same shrub and I will get there. It proves to be the most challenging pace in my life of apathy, but the clearest of all. There is an aura, and there is a stone. But it is a different rock from before and an aura I’ve never witnessed. I pick it up with my throbbing arm, in denial of the semi-paralyzing agony, and underneath it is a glowing neon wallet. Now that’s an aura I recognize. I open the wallet, and in it see an ID card and some money. I’m disappointed that I still only value money, even at this time. It’s not even enough to afford this month’s rent. Not even close, it’s precisely half the amount I need. There’s only 175 $
I’m walking home and almost reach the end of the old part of town. I’ve been too distracted by the terrible pain in my neck to notice the advertiser outside the mini-casino who has been eyeing me and trying to get my attention for some time. He almost grows agitated and changes his tone of voice but that’s when I turn around. I stare him down, and he nervously smiles as he blabbers on about his offer. I keep staring. There’s no mistaking it. He’s got an aura. I start approaching him and try to make out what he’s saying. He keeps paraphrasing and adding “Double Or Nothing” to his voice, his intonation even drills that form of capitalization to my thoughts. I’m falling apart in every aspect possible, so I might as well. I give him all I have and his aura forms a number. 350 $. I actually feel glad. The salesman has a look of surprise and runs to hug me in celebration, as my vision darkens and the pain has erupted in my heart and rendered my paralyzed. I doubt that the reason of his bolt to me is celebration.
911 has been notified of a fallen elder. They seem to have left the local nursing home and collapsed at the edge of town. They had their ID in their wallet, thus police were able to identify them and set up a proper funeral. Even after identifying them, police found no relatives or acquaintances. The casualty had no money in account but the sum of cash in their belonging was sufficient to pay for funeral costs. In other news-
That is all. An ordinary person with extraordinary powers. Everyone can relate to the person that a protagonist is before gaining power. It is after tagging a supernatural identity that they have a profound sense of justice, bravery, and romantic vulnerability hidden all along. Some people are ordinary and others are all but ordinary. Make most of what you have. Maybe there’s a you in a parallel universe who wishes they had something which you have so that their lives would change. You have a gift. Make yourself proud. Fulfill your self’s dreams of existential additions. Time doesn’t wear out gifts and swing you back into equinox. You do.