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Empath: Into the Shadow, Prologue

Prologue

Artwork by Alex Grey

Notebook entry of Subject #7

The halls of Muhlenberg Hospital’s mental ward were quiet at night. Patients watched TV or sat in their rooms. As I walked by the cafeteria, I saw a boy sitting at a table with a chessboard set up in front of him. At first I walked by, he just sat there and stared at the board waiting for someone to play. I knew he was waiting for me. Marcus was nowhere to be seen. Rocking back and forth in his room most likely. I knew this was one of his mind games.

Even though a boy sat in his place, it was Mark’s eyes in his head. He was using the boy like one of the pawns on the board. For days I had watched the chaos that Marcus caused by playing with people’s minds. He was different than me, a true telepath, but I had yet to place a name on what I was, the term empath was not yet known to me. I walked by again the boy was still there sitting alone. He connected eyes with me as I looked in; he wasn’t confused, he knew what was going on. He was just a pawn in a game of cat and mouse. But who was the cat? Marcus or me?

I decided to enter and sit down at the table, and immediately the déjà vu sense came over me. I dreamed of this before. All my hair stood on end as I felt Marcus’s consciousness pass over me silently in the back of my mind. I felt him pry into my mind trying to see where my true weakness was. I had the black pieces, the boy had the white. Not a word was said as the boy moved one of his pawns two spaces. I followed suit moving my queen’s pawn out of the way, within two more moves my queen was in play, too early some may say, a rookie mistake. I was over confident, not really sure if this was a game or not. Was Marcus really in my mind or am I just schizo I thought.  How far could his outreach be?

Like just the other day on the TV, I watched as Marcus rocked back and forth and the reporter on CNN lost her train of thought. She looked mesmerized in a trance and the anchors in the studio kept asking her about gun control. Marcus had a bible in his hands and rocked back and forth and all the energy felt drained out of me. I felt cold and every hair on my body stood on end. The girl next to me felt it too as she left and came back with a blanket. The anchors repeatedly asked if the female reporter was all right, Marcus was somehow absorbing our energy and sending out a telepathic spike. Making the connection somehow through the television screen. Or so I believed and as soon as I realized I told the girl to change the channel. She looked confused but complied as I urged and as soon as CNN was off, the connection broken, Marcus stood and stormed out of the activity room with a scowl and bible in hand.

I told no one but a medical student named Justin about that incident because I didn’t want to sound crazy. I had a sense Justin knew what was going on and that maybe he worked undercover for the government.  I described to him as best I could the incident in the TV room and Justin began to cry. He said, “He doesn’t want more people like this.” I thought he meant the president and I realized then that this was something they were trying to keep a secret. I said, “You can’t stop this. It’s evolution.” Justin nodded and wiped away tears. Latter I would witness as Marcus tried to use this technique on the Packers/Cowboys game in the playoffs.

I watched as Marcus rocked back and forth trying to drain the energy out of the people in the room. I concentrated on the screen as best I could trying to counteract Marcus’s energy. I sensed he was in a way praying hard, or that was sort of the technique. I knew deep down he was praying for the Cowboys to win so I prayed the opposite, for them to lose. I watched the screen intently and glanced back at Marcus from time to time. I rocked slowly instead of fast like Marcus more controlled but copying his technique. Marcus knew I was fighting him and he connected eyes with me sometimes and grimaced. The Packers eventually won and Marcus started to scream obscenities, I smiled inwardly. Now he was testing me in a game of chess, and instead of doing so himself, he hid away behind someone else’s eyes.

I was in a battle of wits with someone who could read my mind, but yet I could see the patterns ahead of time. Who was stronger, he or I?  I lost my queen after I took the boys knight. Within five more moves the boy being controlled by Marcus said, “Check.” I moved my king out of the way; he moved his rook and said, “Check” again. In a few more moves he said, “Checkmate” I was stuck there was nowhere I could move my king he truly had me in checkmate in less then ten minutes.

The boy began to set the pieces up again. I took my time concentrating each move, yet the boy slipped through the connection sometimes, and told me not to make certain moves by stopping my hand and shaking his head. Like I thought the boy wasn’t interested in winning, but something inside him compelled him to keep playing. This game lasted much longer, as I took the game more seriously, and soon we were in stalemate, a draw in twenty minutes. We started another game and within a few more minutes, we were at stalemate again, this time without the boy losing connection from Marcus. The boy looked stunned as I felt waves of anger coming from Marcus. The boy with a secondary moment of control back turned the board around. Now I was white and he was black. The tables had turned literally; I couldn’t help but feel that this was not just a battle of wits, but one of good and evil.

With each piece moved, I watched anticipating each movement. Soon I had the upper hand, as I almost knew what move the boy would make. I saw it in my minds eye and soon I said, “Check.” The boy moved his king. I sacrificed my queen to take his knight. His queen moved in and took mine, falling into my plan. I took his queen with my rook and had him in check again.  The board seemed lopsided as I had most of my pieces left. The game was very one sided and I had checkmate without my opponent getting check once. I heard Marcus down the hall screaming obscenities as he broke the connection and the boys smile beamed. We shook hands, I said, “Good game.” The boy just nodded, he never spoke the entire four games of chess we played except to say check and checkmate.

I realized Marcus and I were at war, but I felt the only way I could beat him was if I understood him. I showed him I was more powerful without the use of mind control like he used, but I sensed this conflict was just a test. My destiny was much greater than a board game between good and evil. The fight for my mind had begun and I was at center stage of something that went beyond my comprehension. A tale as old as time, the battle between dark and light forces that had always existed in the human psyche. This was just the beginning.

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