It is truly marvelous to witness the change that can occur in a person when something radically changes in their lives. So was the case for Simon Dice as well as being able to feel and hear the emotions and thoughts of others changed his very core. Before that event, Simon was so focused on his own misery that he eventually created a barrier; separating himself from the others. After all, it’s not like the others were eager to have him in his life, the only exception was Sarah Grey, or so did he think for a moment. But once he received the gift, all of this changed completely. The impact of the gift on Simon was complex and evolving; Simon went through six different stages in his relation with the gift.
The first stage started as soon as he received it. It was a strong and unpleasant part of his experience with empathy as he wasn’t able to control the flow of new input he was receiving from the people around him. The first experience of empathy he had was with his roommate as he saw a new facet of him that he would have never guessed. Simon had to leave to an empty space in order to stop the pain of the first links. He was saturated with way too much new information, and as soon as he got back his calm, the first thing that he could think about was that the whole phenomenon was just the product of his mind going insane; however, he ended up linking those happenings to his fall in the cavern, and the visions of light he had.
It took Simon quite a while to adapt to this new ability, but it was all the way worth it. He was able to stop the input to only one at the time, but he was still unable to silence it completely. The first instinct of Simon was to deny the obvious. After denying the very existence of the gift by simply linking it to his mind going crazy, Simon also denied the need for him to have such a gift. The only thing he wanted to do was to get rid of it. He tried as hard as he could, but he could never stop it completely. He tried to research similar cases, but the only leads he had were scams, and people searching for attention or scam opportunities, even the gift that he was trying to get rid of was pointing to that.
Simon entered the second phase of his empathy cycle as a result of a very specific event. He was still not really convinced that his gift was real, but everything became clear to him again when he experienced empathy with Sarah Grey. A few days after the cavern incident, he run into her at school. Beautiful Sarah Grey with her long blond hair shining like the sun, and her deep blue eyes in which he felt he could drawn. Simon new that the gift will take effect as soon as she would be close, he saw her coming toward him, and try to avoid any eye contact, praying to get away before it starts again. He wanted to keep the image of beauty that he had of this girl, and through his recent experiences with the gift, he noticed that it tended to give him very contradictory insight with what was displayed. He walked a few meters before she distinctly called him:
“Simon! Wait for me!” She screamed from across the corridor.
In a blink of an eye, she was already next to him. The first thing that Simon felt was happiness, but a very light happiness, almost forced. Then came a hint of Shame, she was ashamed to be seen with him! Another feeling was there as well; confidence, confidence that she could do with the shame as soon as she could get to her goal, thinking about that made a new emotion rise; satisfaction. She new that everything was going her way. As she was looking at him, he felt a peek of disgust reeking. ‘ My God Sarah! What are you doing?! Is passing American literature that important for you! What will everybody think seeing me hanging around with this freak? They will think there is something going on between us I guess. Bunch of snakes and bitches! As if I could get that low! No fucking way! Just Smile Sarah, Smile and play nice, and he will totally be your dog.’
Simon was chocked. He sure had no big hopes for what she thought of him, but judging how she talked to him the last time, he wanted to believe that for once, he had met someone different; someone that saw beyond his grotesque appearance and his very low status among his equals.
“Simon! You are so pale! Is something wrong?” She said showing genuine concern on her face; however, what Simon was receiving was quite different.
Simon felt more disgust, and a beginning of impatience, then a fast pasted wondering before a sort of epiphany. ‘Shit, his pulling a broken thing one with me; Fuck! What should I do? He might be suspecting something. But how could he? Nobody knows about this. I should lead him on for now I guess. Motivate him to get down to business; should be a piece of cake.
“You know I’m worried sick about you!” She said while frowning in a cute and somehow suggestive way.” What about walking a little! Some air will do you good, and I hope my company would as well.” She concluded smiling at him.
“Do you think anything of what you just said?” Simon asked looking her directly in the eyes. “Any word at all?”
He felt fear rising, as well as confusion and anger. ‘How could this fucker doubt my words?! Isn’t he fucking happy I’m even talking to him?! What is wrong with this guy?!”
“What do you mean? Of course I mean all of what I just said.” She said in an innocent voice giving him a ‘I am not guilty’ frowning face.
She got closer to him and held his right hand while looking at him and smiling.
“I am not your enemy, you know? I just want to be your friend.” She said turning her eyes away and blushing a little bit.
He felt a rise in confidence and satisfaction. ‘No way he is not falling for this!’
Simon looked her in the eyes, trying to push himself to believe that what he was thinking was wrong. He kept starring at her for a moment, then in the moment of a heartbeat, he reached for her, and kissed her. For a moment he felt no empathy input, just that moment frozen in time. But before he realized, the moment was over, the empathy stroke back stronger than ever; a strong mixture of feelings and words that he couldn’t really decipher. He felt a strong force pushing him away. The face of Sarah Grey was no more cute or attractive, it was pure rage. Her pale beautiful face was red and torn in anger. Her pupils were so dilated that the blue of her eyes were only two tiny rings circling two big black discs.
“GET AWAY FROM ME YOU FREAK! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! WHY COULDN’T YOU JUST BE LIKE THE OTHERS AND PLAY THE FUCKING GAME. HOW COULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT I WOULD DO ANYTHING WITH YOU, YOU SICK WEIRDO!”
The rent flood on and on, and everything Simon felt and heard raised to the surface making his doubt disappear. He run away leaving Sarah grey still screaming.
“RUN AWAY YOU FUCKING COWARD. MAY YOU FUCKING DIE AND ROT YOU UGLY SHIT!”
Simon continued running until he was all by himself. He found himself in a waste land with humongous amounts of garbage of all kind. All he could feel at that moment was anger. Anger towards everything, starting by himself, then the others, then this stupid gift or bloody curse he got. He was angry because now he knew for sure how low everybody thought of him. He knew that he was not really liked, but being confronted to it in such a way was pushing him to his limits. He went on a rampage until it was too dark for him to see anything. Smashing everything he could smash around him. He felt no satisfaction in his destructive action, but kept on doing it until he couldn’t breath normally anymore. He was torn up and feeling like shit, and he knew that he couldn’t do anything about it. Worst of all, his first kiss was a complete disaster…
It took Simon many weeks to calm down his anger and move to the next stage. After cutting himself from the contact of the others and living in seclusion for a while, he meditated about all those event. He got to the conclusion that people didn’t like him anyway, but now that he knows what they really think and feel, he could actually help them. He started bargaining with himself, thinking of ways to positively use his gift to bring good to the world, to help others! He could help people be better by helping them reflecting about their thoughts. He decided to test this new vision on people around him, but all he got was negativity back.
“Are you calling me queer? I’ll fucking kill you!” was the response of his roommate.
“Get the fuck away from me you sick fuck! I’ll make your life hell if you ever approach me!” Sarah Grey said when he tried to apologize and explain himself.
He tried to expand his reach to people who didn’t knew him, thinking that they will be more open to his help, but they all took him for some crazy person while he tried to explain to them that he knew what was bothering them and saying he could help. It took many and many failure for Simon to fall into his fourth Stage, a stage of deep depression. In that stage, Simon got back to his solitary seclusion believing more and more that he was the wrong person for such a gift, with such power. He would have helped so many people if only he wasn’t who he was, a sore to the sight, and a walking disaster in the eyes of everyone, a reject doubled by a crazy maniac speaking nonsense about knowing what was mingling in the other’s minds and hearts.