Mind Reader by Jenna Perry

It was a Tuesday. I had just moved to this small, beat down, and quite odd, new town, in efforts to start a new life. I spent hours at the town’s Courthouse. The second I ventured into this, what seemed to be a crap hole, I knew I may have made a mistake. Everyone gazed at me with looks of “what the hell?” and “who is she?” I figured it was more of a “who is the new girl?” situation. I spent hours wandering around, checking out the restaurants, thrift shops, and ghostly people. The thoughts going through my head were not thoughts you’d want to hear out loud.  

  “Excuse me Miss, are you new here?” I heard as I turned the sharp corner to get back to my car.  

  “Uhm yes, I moved into my new apartment today.” I was scared this guy was about to kidnap me.  

  “Have you stopped at the town hall yet? We have a lot of resources and helpful information in there for new people.”  

  “No, but I will, thank you!” He was a seemingly nice guy.  

  This town had a population of 500, and it took you five minutes to get to where you wanted to go. Did I make a mistake moving to this lousy town? I decided to head to the town hall to see what it was all about. 

  As I arrived, there were many people standing around watching me pull in. I had never felt more anxious, I wanted to throw up right then and there. I got out of my car and greeted them all with a smile, even though my mind was rushing with thoughts of confusion and doubt. I had taken not even three steps, and I was approached by two older ladies.

“Hi, are you here to gather information on our wonderful town?”

“Yes, I am. Now, I’d like to get inside, please.”

I struggled to get through the blob of people surrounding the entrance to the town hall. As I stepped into the cold, musty, dark, building, I had so many doubts running through my mind. Something about this did not seem right. There was one table sitting in the middle of the floor and nothing else around it. I saw one old lady, who looked like the stereotypical librarian. 

“Uhm, hello?”, I asked. 

“Hello, you can come up to the table now, ma’am.”

I slowly walked to the table and stood there, hands shaking, sweat running, and nerves wrecked. I had never seen something more sketchy. This was not where I belonged. The lady gave me a clipboard full of pamphlets about the town.

“There are cookies and water around the corner if you’d like to help yourself.”

I was hesitant to turn my back on her, but I decided to anyway.

As I approached the cookie bar, I felt a breath on my neck. I was too terrified to turn around. I took another step, and right as I did, I felt a grip around my neck. 

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you, but you have to comply. I’m going to give you this shot in your temple and everything is going to be okay.” 

“No! Please don’t, don’t hurt-”

Too late. She shot an icky substance into my temple and my head went numb. My vision was blurry, and I felt like I was floating. I stumbled back around the corner and made my way out of the door. As I did, everyone applauded and made a way for me to walk through. I looked at the ladies that greeted me when I got there and I heard in my head, this girl’s life is about to change.

What was this voice? This wasn’t my conscience or God. I took a look around again and made eye contact with an older man that was sitting in a lawn chair. Again, I heard a voice that was different from the one before. 

What an idiot, moving to this town.

Was I able to hear these peoples thoughts? What was going on? I stood there with a confused look on my face, and then I went to my car. I sat there for a couple of minutes, not being able to grasp what had just happened. I drove back to my apartment and tried to stay away from as many people as I could, but of course I ran into my neighbor going up the elevator. The eye contact that I avoided was extremely noticeable. 

She softly whispered, “are you new here?” 

I stuttered in fear of conversation…

“Y-yes.” 

As I walked out of the elevator the girl grabbed my arm. 

“I know what happened to you. You don’t have to be afraid.”

“The thing is, I don’t even know what happened to me, can you explain?”

 “Every new person to move into this town is required to get the shot. This shot gives you access to other people’s minds. The “leader” of this town is a man named Josiah Parker. Josiah believes that everyone should be a part of each other’s minds. He believes that not one person should have their own thoughts, so he created a potion that syncs our minds together.”

“So why can’t I hear your thoughts right now?” 

“You have to make direct eye contact with the person, so my tip is to always look down. Don’t trust anyone if they say it is okay to look at them. Just look down and focus on yourself.”

“You guys just live like this? How is this okay? How does no one from other places know about this?”

“We live with it. He is our leader. We listened to him.”

I could not get this through my head. Leader? Small towns like this one, don’t have leaders. This is absurd. The elevator dinged, we made it to our floor. The doors opened and there were two people waiting to get on. I kept my head down in fear of making eye contact with these strangers. I quickly walked past them and ran into my apartment. It took me a long time to get all of this mayhem through my head and realize that this is going to be part of my new life. 

I had no groceries in my house so I needed to make a trip to the store. When I got there, I was terrified to get out of my car. I saw everyone walking with their heads down and no conversation being made. Anxiety was filling my body, I knew I had to only think about things that were okay with everyone else hearing. 

The guy checking me out at the front actually made conversation with me so without thinking I looked up to talk to him. When I looked up, he was looking at me. As our eyes connected, I heard in my head, this idiot. This guy just called me an idiot. The only thing I was thinking was oh shit, so I ran off and stumbled to the car. 

If I were to hear someone thinking something bad of me, I don’t know what I would do. This new normal is going to mess with my self-esteem. I have no doubt that people are going to think bad things of me, then what do I do? I don’t want to live in a world that has negativity, and you know that is exactly what this is. No one thinks positivity 24/7. What kind of mess did I just get myself into. I seriously couldn’t believe I moved into a town that injects people with a substance that makes you a mind reader. 

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