The Empath.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


This girl has had a strange power from birth. It's not helpful in anyway, more of a burden in her mind. Everyday her eye color changes to the first thing she sees after waking up. Trying hard to
keep her eyes a normal color everyday, she set up her entire room to be brown. One day she wakes up to her brother and he has a wildly unnatural hair color.



Part of the Under a Grand Cap collection: Shorts and writing prompt exercises under 1000 words.

Submitted: August 13, 2017

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Submitted: August 13, 2017

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This girl has had a strange power from birth. It's not helpful in anyway, more of a burden in her mind. Everyday her eye color changes to the first thing she sees after waking up. Trying hard to keep her eyes a normal color everyday, she set up her entire room to be brown. One day she wakes up to her brother and he has a wildly unnatural hair color. 

The Empath.

In some of the more hardcore D&D campaigns I've DM-ed, people have really gone over and beyond in their character creations. It's always the fun part, getting a glimpse of the inner workings of everyone's creative minds. 

I love seeing people shyly present their skillfully drawn references for their witchsona, or ramble passionately about their bullfighter's signature outfits, or assign powers over all the elements to their cat - something that always arouses a table argument.

It's fun to hear how, over the years, characters change. They lose an ear, grow a fifth leg, et cetera. I think everyone has managed to change every major part of the body of their characters at least twice, except me.

"You know, I meant to ask," the DM for our most recent campaign piped up one day during cleanup, "You and your characters always wear sunglasses. I don't think any of us have actually ever seen your eye colour."

"Whoa, you're right, I never thought about it," someone else chimed in.

Suddenly surrounded by a cluster of overly excited teenagers (having just ended a pretty glorious campaign), I felt that I had no choice. I put the pouch of dice back down on the table and slowly reached up to pull of my sunglasses. Everyone held their breath in anticipation. I whipped the sunglasses off and flashed my best smile.

There was silence.

"They're brown," one of them said disinterestedly. 

I cocked an eyebrow at them. "What were you expecting?"

"I don't know, like, green or something? I don't know a lot of people with green eyes. That would've been cool..."

They all left grumbling, but I sighed in relief. This is why I painted my entire room brown, walls to ceiling. If they knew...

Every morning ever since I can remember, whatever I see when I first wake up is the colour my eyes decide to be. It's apparently a "genetic thing," so my mom told me. All the girls in the family get it. Now imagine growing up in a quaint, quiet neighbourhood, full of kind church-going folk that wave at strangers like they're longtime friends. Imagine showing up to preschool with The Devil's red eyes, late for morning prayer.

Yeah... I don't think you need too much imagination to figure out that I moved shortly after that, and swore to always wake up to warm brown walls ever since.

It's called colour empathy. Kind of like how a chameleon changes its skin colour to blend into its surroundings. I'm a colour changer, a colour empath. 'Wow,' you must be thinking, 'An empath! I've heard of those!' Maybe you've read about them in a superhero comic. Maybe you've even created one in your own D&D campaigns. An empath, a mimic, a perfect copycat. 'That's like a superpower!' Ah, but here's the catch.

The transformation stops at my eye.

Yeah, it'd be hella cool if my whole body turned neon green. I could break into the newsroom and scare the poor weatherman to death, blending into the green screen, unseen by confused and concerned viewers... Wrecking. Havoc. 

But nope. 

Instead, I cause the stampeding of 3-year-old children and the fainting of both teachers and school nurses alike. Because I have The Devil's eyes.

So imagine my horror when, this morning, I wake up to see not warm brown, but a shocking rainbow mess that is my brother's new hair.

"So... What do you think-?! Oh my God..."

Yeah, 'Oh my God' was right. He didn't even have to tell me, I knew. I knew that my eyes today were going to be a psychedelic neon rainbow. 

I had a post-campaign meetup with the crew. We were supposed to talk about our next steps, reflect on our characters' development so we could write it all up in the mega-fanfiction we were writing for the D&D writing contest for PAX. 

I think I've nearly had an aneurysm every hour I've been awake today. My brother keeps texting me apologies. He high-tailed it out of my room the moment he knew what he had done, and has skillfully ghosted me the whole day. Might be a good thing, I am still pretty pissed.

But hey, it could be way worse. At least I can hide it well this time around.

I'm so glad all my characters wear sunglasses.


© Copyright 2020 R. Tally. All rights reserved.

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