Chapter 17: Global Empathy

The life of Simon Dice was quite the joke. He was trapped in the persona of an outcast that was built through years and years of rejection and bullying; he gained the gift of knowing what was going beyond his own mind, and was able to glimpse at the inner sanctuary of the others’ minds. This unlikely mix leaded Simon to the boarders of sanity. The gift by itself was overwhelming, and controlling it was never something Simon could completely achieve. What the gift did to him was to drag him through several stages through which his behavior evolved according to these new parameters. After going through denial, anger and bargaining, Simon entered the fourth stage of Depression.

The transition wasn’t really caused by one specific event, but was rather due to an accumulation of failures in trying to pursue a noble cause. Simon quickly understood that the gift he received was more important than his pathetic life and was going beyond his own pride and self-esteem. He tried to be impermeable to rudeness, insults, and physical pain as well in order to become the voice of reason, to give people an objective perspective on what was going on in their mind. But of course, he was reminded all and every time that he wasn’t fit to judge if people needed to be help or not.

Simon was trying to resist the urge to stop doing what he was doing for quite a while before effectively retiring from the public sphere. The boy was sick and tired by the flow that he continuously received for almost a year, and for a whole month, he locked himself in a remote place in the surroundings of L.A. The first days were the hardest as Simon was continuously tortured by his flow of thought leaving him awake for days and days. He couldn’t just let go of all those events that have transfigured his life. He tried to remember the exact moment everything started to go wrong, but he couldn’t blame the light by the end. He could only blame himself for not being worthy of this incredible gift. One face in particular was haunting his memories, Sarah’s face. He was able to actually put up with everything else after a moment, to even calm those thoughts and the guilt for some time, but her face was always there; in all her beauty. He couldn’t really picture her in details, but the lines of her face weren’t scrambled in his mind, rather radiating in light. He could see the deep blue of her eyes, like an ocean drowning him and sucking him toward the deep black pit in the middle. Simon cried and cried in pain until the tears stopped coming down. He thought about killing himself, to end all this madness, and he tried, but each time he failed miserably. He hated himself more at that moment, he wasn’t even able to control that part of his life, to put an end to it. Everything didn’t make sense…

Simon was devastated, but by the end of the month, patterns started to appear. After linking everything up, he finally reached a conclusion, his fifth stage: Acceptance. Simon accepted the fact that his gift would never work with him. He was an unworthy host for such a power, and decided that he would just ignore the input. To send his attention somewhere else during those emotional aggression.  Simon left his retrenchment and went back to his regular life. He stopped trying to affect anyone, and didn’t give the empathy any second thought, suppressing his involvement with the messages. Weirdly enough, the emotional feedback got better as a result of his new attitude, even though certain people’s thought stayed as bizarre and disturbing as they used to be. Simon stayed the same outcast that he used to be, nothing in the people’s attitude really changed that much; however, he felt so much lighter by not concerning himself about others’ problems. Everything seemed to be back to normal, but life is never that simple.

The 20th July 1969 started as a strange day for Simon. He was still separating his judgement from his empathy, but he noticed a sort of pattern in people’s minds. Everybody was thinking about the moon landing. Apollo XI was orbiting around the moon, and it was scheduled to land on the moon some time during that exact night. And Simon felt that people were actually getting out of there little personal bubbles and feeling more open about the other. Simon started laughing, and he laughed and laughed for so long. What he tried to accomplish with his gift, this openness toward the others, this care, that was exactly what he wanted to make people see, and they were doing that in a small degree, but still. Then he got it, Simon finally got it! He knew exactly what he had to do.

Simon went back to the forest he had fled to from the bullies who have attacked him on that faithful day his life shifted. This time however, he wasn’t afraid or escaping; he knew exactly what he had to do. He followed the trail of his memory and after some searching, he finally found the pit he felt in. As soon as he approached from it, it started to glow. Taking a moment, he focused his thoughts toward what he wished to accomplish, about the way he wanted his gift to change. Taking a deep breath, he jumped into the Light with a last thought: ‘Happy Birthday to me…’

After the intense light, Simon fell in darkness, loosing every link with reality. Minutes later that seemed like centuries, Simon woke up in his college room just like the other time. He felt the difference, he felt this extension in his abilities. He knew that he could actually use the gift to achieve something, but he also knew that doing so would come at a cost. What he intended to do was at the limit of this new ability he received; deciding to use it at full potential could be risky. The worst was that he didn’t know what would happen to him, only that he might never be the same afterward.

Simon glimpsed at the cat shaped clock that his roommate was keeping for some obscure reason; of course, Simon knew that it was a gift from his lover, but he preferred to stay away from that. the time was 7:51 P.M. He remembered that the moon landing was scheduled around that time. He rushed to the old TV him and his roommate had and turned it on. The channel was broadcasting satellite images of the shuttle approaching the moon. Simon couldn’t focus on the commentary that was describing the approach of the shuttle in such a powerful way. He needed to do it, he had no other choice, and that was the perfect moment.

7:52. Simon closed his eyes, and started feeling the people around him one by one.

7:53. All those little lights started to link. Apollo XI touched the lunar ground.

7:54. A first wave of feelings started to run in the network on a very slow paste. The door of the shuttle opened.

7:55. Simon started to feel the flow of emotions and thought in a very strong and chaotic way, surrounding his mind in a see of foreign thoughts. Armstrong want down the ladder of the shuttle.

7:56. Everyone felt what everyone else felt, a general euphoria where everybody made one. Where every human on earth wasn’t alone in her or his mind anymore, but they all shared this the general consciousness through this moment of bliss. Armstrong sat foot on the lunar ground saying those words that would stay in history: “It’s a small step for a man and a giant leap for the mankind.”

Ironically enough, Armstrong who was at thousands of miles away from the reach of the global empathy of Simon was the one to best describe his act. but for Simon, this extensive use of his gift to broadcast the general consciousness was his last step. Everybody felt the experience in a positive way, and everybody was touched by it, not even knowing where it came from. Most of them ended up linking it to the euphoria of the moon landing, ignoring the only person that made it possible and lost everything in the process: Simon. Simon felt all the global consciousness in its raw form, 3.6 billion people radiating him with their thoughts and feelings. As a result the mind of Simon literally shattered. He was still alive for some reason, probably as a side effect of his contact with the light, but his mind was in a very deep catatonic stage.

8:07. Two women in long cloaks and hoods entered the college room of Simon. One of them told the other:

“So this is the source of the disturbance. This grotesque male boy; are we really obliged to carry him all the way to the head quarter?”

“He is the key to our victory sister! He is the error that has been foretold; the one will use the tunnel of light to access the Symphony after the world has been reborn. He will be the final element to the rise of the falcons! to the rise of the hidden faith of the moon. Our daughters shall suffer no more the cruelty of men after that point. The sun will fall as certainly as it has risen; and at that time, the holly crescent will prevail!”

The two women didn’t speak anymore. They took a brain damaged Simon, transporting him to some unknown location.

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