Original Prompt #1: “You have the ability to read minds at will, but choose to never let anyone know about it. One night, you hear someone think ‘If anyone out there can read my mind, PLEASE HELP!'”
Original Prompt #2: “You sit on a bus, thinking to yourself ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear people’s thoughts?’. A voice replies, ‘It is'”
Zoey stood outside what used to be the Firewater Nightclub. Now it was just a pile of rubble and ash with police tape surrounding the premise. Most people just walked by no giving Zoey or the building any notice, but she could hear whispers filling her head which was a normal thing for her.
Reading minds is an ability that many people would freak out about, but she had lived with this ability for over twenty three years now. There were still moments where other people’s thoughts overpowered her and it felt like people were screaming in her ears, but now Zoey mostly had it under control.
Well there was one girl. A girl Zoey had ran into several times who’s name was Allison.
“I can’t believe this place burned down,” Allison said.
Zoey looked over at her.
Immediately she was hit with this wave of sadness mixed with a feeling of lost and nostalgia.
Zoey shook her head.
“Yeah it’s crazy. Our usual watering hole burned to the ground,” She said placing her hands in her pockets.
They both stood there standing in silence looking over the burned ruins of the old nightclub. It had been a place where Zoey had gone after work many times, but recently she had been avoiding it. She’d been avoiding this whole area.
“So I know that we don’t really know each other that well,” Allison started. “I mean we’ve hung out like four times it a year’s time, but I feel like you’ve been avoiding me.”
Zoey was the mind reader, but sometimes she swore that Allison could read her like an open book.
“I…well…I…” Zoey started as she stumbled over her words.
“It’s just that I was under the impression that we could be friends, you know? Like we had some kind of connection,” Allison turned towards Zoey. “Was I crazy? Am I just imagining it?”
“No! No!” Zoey said a little too loud.
“Then what is it? Do I intimidate you or something? Am I too pushy?” Allison asked.
“I…I don’t… it’s not…” Zoey was tongue-tied as Allison just looked at her waiting for Zoey to spit out her words.
“You make me nervous,” Zoey blurted out.
There was a cloud of panic surrounding her mixing with Allison’s emotions of concern and sadness.
“I don’t really know you but you want to hang out with me and people don’t usually do that,” Zoey said. “I’m kind of a loner. I don’t do the whole party scene and you just seem so…so…”
“I seem so what?”
“I don’t know. Put together I guess. You seem so sweet and nice and that’s not me.”
There was a brief moment of silence before Allison spoke.
“You don’t think you’re nice? You remember what happened here like a year and a half ago, right? You rescued me from a terrible boyfriend when I was stuck in the bathroom crying my eyes out. It was almost like you could hear my cry from help and you came charging in to save me,” Allison said.
“Yeah well…anyone would do that,” Zoey said.
“No they wouldn’t. Only people like you would,” Allison said. “Good people.”
“Yeah sure,” Zoey said looking down at her feet.
“Look, if you don’t want to be friends or hang out or whatever, we don’t have to. I don’t want to force anything on you,” Allison said.
“No, it’s not that…it’s just complicated,” Zoey said.
I can’t tell her right? How crazy would I sound? Reading minds? She’d freak. Plus then Allison would know. Like know-know. Other people can’t know.
“I don’t know if I can explain it,” Zoey admitted.
“Try me,” Allison folded her arms.
“Do we have to do this in the middle of the sidewalk?” Zoey asked.
“I guess not,” Allison said.
“There’s a quaint, little bakery not too far from here. They have really good, freshly baked bread.
Allison’s stumbled growled.
“I am pretty hungry,” She admitted. “Fine, let’s go get some bread.”
They made their way a few blocks over to the local bakery. Inside it smelt amazing. All the scents of baking bread and butter and so many awesome aromas all coming together.
“You’re right. This place is awesome,” Allison said taking a seat.
She had two large, blueberry muffins and some tea. Zoey got a small loaf of cinnamon bread and a black coffee.
Zoey could feel the wave of happiness overcome Allison as she bit into her blueberry muffin.
“This is amazing! How did I not know about this place?” She asked.
“It’s kind of off the radar, I guess,” Zoey said.
“Ok now this complicated thing that’s going on between me and you. What’s that all about?” Allison asked before taking another bite of muffin.
I can’t believe that I’m actually going to do this. This is stupid right? I shouldn’t do this. But this was Allison. For some reason I fully trust her. It’s my stupid crush and my stupid emotions overcoming me. Argh. I don’t know what to do.
“Ok, just promise you won’t freak out,” Zoey said.
“Ok I promise,” Allison nodded.
“I…I…” Zoey started.
Her mind was racing.
Just say it. Just say that you read minds. That you feel Allison’s feelings. That you can read her thought. That you can read everyone’s thoughts. That you know the baker is thinking about a stack of bills piling up in the back. That the other couple in the bakery are in totally different places. She thinks they are going to get married and he’s trying to figure out a way to break up with her and still leave things on good terms. Just say it.
Allison picked up on Zoey’s hesitation and reached out a hand and placed it on Zoey’s.
“I have a crush on you,” Zoey blurted.
In that moment the whole bakery seemed to fall silent. Allison slowly retracted her hand and placed them on the table. Zoey’s expression was one of pure terror and embarrassment. She could feel her face get red.
Where did that come from?
They both sat there for a split second as the bakery swelled with noise once again.
Oh crap. What did I do?
“I didn’t realize that you were…uh…” Allison started.
“Just don’t. Let’s just not talk,” Zoey said hanging her head.
“Hey it’s not a big deal,” Allison said. “I didn’t know you were a Lesbian, that’s all. I’m not… I don’t…”
“You’re straight. Yeah I know,” Zoey said.
“But we can still be friends. Just because I’m not gay doesn’t mean we can’t hang out,” Allison said.
“Won’t it be awkward for you?” Zoey asked.
“Maybe a little, but I’m sure I’ll get over it. Plus the fact that you didn’t want to hang out with me because you have a crush on me is not as bad as it could have been. You could have said that you were a serial killer or an alien or something,” Allison laughed.
“Yeah definitely not an alien,” Zoey popped her head up and smiled.
“And serial killer?” Allison asked.
“I promise not to wear your skin as a suit,” Zoey said.
“Why not? My skin is great,” Allison laughed looking at her hands and forearms.
Both girls laughed.
The turn around seemed to happen out of nowhere, but that’s just how both Allison and Zoey are. Humor is their coping mechanism and it was either that or be awkward. Both girls chose laughter and jokes.
Zoey laughed along still recovering from embarrasement, but Allison helped it go by quickly.
“I’m going to hit the restroom before we leave,” Allison said picking up her bag.
“Ok, I’m going to get another coffee for the road.”
Allison nodded and headed off to the restroom in the corner.
Once Allison slipped away. Zoey closed her eyes. She imagined a large, heavy door in front of her. Then she pushed the door open slowly. The whispers of others around her came rushing in. Full blown stream of consciousnesses filling her mind. Both thoughts and emotions. It was a little abrupt, but Zoey waded through those thoughts and emotions. She heard one stronger than all the rest. That was Allison’s.
Wow. Weird. I’ve never had a girl admit that to me. That’s actually kind of flattering.
I’m glad she got that off her chest. It must have been really hard for her to tell me.
It was like she overheard a secret conversation and just blurted out her thoughts at the worst time revealing herself. Or sending that text message that you definitely shouldn’t have sent. Or when you talk about someone and they appear behind you at just the wrong moment. Zoey had opened that door and stepped on through.
Zoey sat there petrified. She had blown it. She had opened the bag.
Zoey shook her head.
She slammed the door in her mind and opened her eyes.
“Oh crap. Oh crap!”
She ran out the door knocking the rest of her coffee on the floor.
“I’m so sorry,” Zoey said as she ran by the counter.
However she didn’t stop running. She just picked up her stuff and bolted. Panic overwhelmed her and there was nothing else to do.
Zoey had spoken to Allison telepathically. It was over. Allison knew. She knew.
As she ran down the street, Zoey picked up everyone’s thoughts and conversations once again. It was like she was drowning in other people’s thoughts. Their private worlds were invading her own. They were like a crowd of people screaming at her. She couldn’t hear anything else. It was just everyone’s thoughts and the blood pumping in her ears.
After Zoey ran a dozen or so city blocks, she was winded. She wasn’t an athlete and wasn’t used to running. Plus her mind hurt. A strange sensation that is hard to explain, but she was mentally drained.
What had I done? I messed up bad. What can I do now?
These words barely surfaced above everyone else’s words.
Zoey pulled out her phone and noticed she had five missed calls. All from Allison.
I messed up. I messed up bad. I’m going to have to leave the city right? Move states. Move countries. If she tells anyone I’m toast. I’m going to end up in some government lab where they’ll kill me and dissect my brain. Or torture me until I spy on the Russians.
Through this ramblings of words and crazy ideas, she once again picked up on strong feelings of concern and confusion.
Zoey are you there?
Zoey turned around but there was nobody there. She was all alone standing on a city corner. But the words were still so clear. Allison’s thoughts were pushing through.
Wow. So you can actually do this? I wasn’t making this up. You can speak to me through your brain?
Yes. I can hear your thoughts and I can send thoughts to you.
I don’t know what to say. I was just there washing my hands in the sink and your voice comes floating into my head. And then I hear some kind of noise outside and you’re gone. You spilt your coffee all over the floor.
I know. And I apologized to the bakery lady. I had to get out of there. You weren’t supposed to know that. This was my secret.
Yeah that’s a pretty big secret. Reading thoughts and all.
Please, you can’t tell anyone, ok? No one else can know. I’ll be shipped off to some government facility never to be seen again. Please don’t say anything. I’ll never bother you again. You’ll never have to see me again.
But what if I want to?
What if I want to see you again.
You really want to see me after all of this? After I read your thoughts?
Look Zoey. You’re a strange girl and it’s going to take some time to process this, but honestly, I think it’s pretty cool. Not that you read my thoughts. That’s kind of creepy, but that you have this ability. And now that I think of it, it makes sense. You didn’t figuratively read my mind in that nightclub, you literally read it. And when I saw you on the bus. I thought I heard something in my brain, you know? Now I know I did. I heard you.
Yeah I’m really sorry about that too. I don’t really know a lot about this whole thing. I can’t ask anyone, because you know. Sometimes my mind wanders. And I was worried you were going to freak out about the whole having a crush on you thing.
Well both things surprise me, but I think mind reader takes the cake. How about you give me a little time to process all of this, alright? And then I’ll send you a text message. No more mind reading, ok? At least not my mind.
Alright. I promise. I’ll leave your mind alone.
Excellent. See you soon, Zoey.
Yeah, sure. See you soon, Allison.
Then the door fully shut cutting off communication between the two. The whispers from all over the city fell silent. It was just Zoey and her thoughts.
What’s going to happen next?
Zoey placed her head in her hands and began her walk back to her apartment.
Header Photo Credit to MIT News
Writing Prompt #1 submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/JeffDazzle
Writing Prompt #2 submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/Dinistriad