Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Puzzle Box

What, the puzzle box?
It’s not a terribly interesting story.

A few months after we met, we were working on improving his abilities; testing his limits.
I’d seen him lift cars and invert statues and disassemble tables, but he was still having trouble with minute manipulations. He lacked the psionic equivalent of fine motor skills.
So, one day I was browsing a local thrift store and found a small metal puzzle box. It was small cube with many interlocking gears and metal components. It was very intricate and difficult to manipulate with your hands. It was just the thing I was looking for, and I got it for less than 5 dollars.

The next morning, I gave him the box and we spent the entire day training with it. By the end, his control had increased at least threefold, and I learned a lot about how his telekinesis worked. It’s fascinating, the energy he generates is mostly focused on one small point. He says it takes more willpower to affect multiple points at once than it does to make the effect stronger. He can lift cars or statues with a few distinct points of force, but liquids just slip through his mental fingers.

Right, sorry.
Anyway, after we were done for the day, just as I was leaving, he stopped me at the door. He said he wanted to make a point of thanking me for the puzzle box. He said it was the best birthday present he had ever received.

I didn’t know. He hadn’t told me. I never even thought to ask.

And I think I’m still the only normal person who knows what day it is.

Well, unless you count his brother.

But looking back, that day was when we really started working together. Every interaction we had before was so… clinical. After his birthday, I began to understand how his personality, his mind, affected his powers. So many major breakthroughs happened in the year that followed.

So, exactly one year later, I went out and found another puzzle box. This time, I got the biggest and most complicated one I could find. It was bigger than a microwave, and cost about two hundred dollars. But it was worth it to see how far he had come, and to see him that happy again.

And every year since, I’ve gotten him a bigger and more intricate puzzle box. Just to see him happy.

Never tell him I said that. He’d never let me live it down. It’s in his nature.

He doesn’t need that kind of stress. He’s got a “resistance” to worry about.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Abyss

Why does Mr. Dotson do it?
Why put up with him? Why not let someone else deal with the day to day handling of his affairs and just focus on the science?

My first theory was that they are just good friends. And honestly they might be, but you wouldn’t assume that just by looking at them. He acts like an entitled celebrity, and Dotson like a beleaguered assistant. They don’t seem to engage as peers, at least not in public?

Maybe they just have a good work dynamic, but then I see Dotson plugging away at the some project for days while his partner flitters around the lab tweaking and experimenting with everything in sight. I don’t know if that’s it.

Destiny perhaps? We know that he chose Dotson out of all of the many people he could have gone to reveal his powers, so we must infer that he prefers Dotson’s methods over anyone else’s. But Dotson isn’t a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. He knows when to drop something that isn’t working. Personally, I think Dotson would enjoy his work more if he just analysed the data from experiments that someone else was running. Dotson must see something we don’t.

True love? I didn’t see any evidence of that, but maybe I’m not the best one to ask. I’m not that kind of girl.

This question has plagued me for longer than I care to admit. I don’t… have much going on myself, and it’s hard not to get caught up in their antics. I’m certainly not the only one, as rumors about what nonsense they were getting up to were always circulating around the facility.
I guess we were all anti-social nerds anyway. Maybe talking about the adventures of a superhero and his loyal sidekick came naturally to us. Perhaps to me more than most…
It’s all a bit parasocial really...

But one day, back when I worked in the research lab under the Global Psi headquarters, I got a chance to satisfy my curiosity.
He sat down at my table during lunch. Dotson, that is. I managed to strike up a conversation.
We talked for a bit, and I’ll spare you the details, but it ended like this:
I said, “Honestly Mr. Dotson, how can you stand working with him all day? He’s insufferable! You know they say that when you stare into the abyss, the abyss also stares back into you. Is that why you’re so crazy, Dotson?”

And then Dotson looked over at me, gave a me a small, gentle, worrying smile, and said, “Maybe, but I have to wonder…

What does the abyss feel when it stares back into you?

I think there’s only one way to find out.”

Friday, April 7, 2017


She’s hard to talk to. It must be difficult for her to open up. I’ve had three sessions with her and only now, twenty minutes into session four does she actually say something of substance.

“Let me explain something to you right now, I’m good at arguing I mean I’ve been arguing my whole life. I’ve fought with my parents, my older brother, my two sisters, camp counselors, old friends, principals at every school and even the police on occasion. If you’re going to write down anything in your stupid notebook Mr. Dotson it should be this: Abigail Morner, argumentative.

But he is impossible to argue with.”

I wish I had a proper office to conduct these sessions. Bouncing from room to room has not been good for her cooperation. And I think hosting this fourth session in our interrogation suite was a very bad idea.

“Minutes into any disagreement he dissolves into childlike behaviour while keeping his infuriatingly smug wit. And his nicknaming thing quickly becomes name calling as soon as he loses his temper. Last time he called me ‘Hotpants’.”

I see that she’s starting to burn through the wooden table she’s leaning on, but before I can say anything she continues.

“Which was funny but in a personal and hurtful kind of way.”

She throws herself back into her chair annoyed, before noticing the small trail of smoke her hands left on the table. Her eyes widen and she checks her thermometer under her wrist.

“Great, my core temp’s rising. Look at me, I’m attracting too much heat talking about this guy.”
I ask her if she wants something to drink to cool her down, but she refuses.

“No no, I got it.”

She reaches into her pocket and retrieves what looks like a big neon glowstick. Gripping it tightly, she vents heat into the device, changing the fluid within from a pale green to a warm orange before setting it on the table. She is now visibly more calm.

“You know, I am thankful for his help. These monitors and heat sinks he and Nitro made for me have certainly made this temperature thing easier to live with. And I did kind've keep these powers on his recommendation. And I suppose I should thank you as well, Dotson. My life was very all over the place before I got here, it’s nice to have someone to listen after the… trauma of the “event” that happened to me.”

Her gaze doesn’t leave the heat sink, even as she does air quotes around the word “event”, until she says the following sentence.

“But that doesn’t mean I’m going to take this lying down. And if you’re not going to step in and stop him from bullying me and the other guys… and his staff… and even you sometimes Mr.Dotson, then I will.”

She says that last line with a half-smile and makes a move to get up. I’ve learned to just let her leave when she wants to. I stop her only to thank her for her time.

It’s clear to me that he is not taking the role of leader well. This isn’t the first complaint, and it won’t be the last. But I’ve placed too many chips on this number to back out now. It’s easier to mold him into a better person than find someone new, even if it means getting a little…


I hope my ancestors forgive me for what I have to do.

  • David Dotson