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The Story of an Involuntary Seer MAG
He was a nobody. A lowly writer for the local newspaper, The Monticello Gazette. He was a forgettable face in this rural town and state. He sat at an old tattered, gray, semi-rusted desk. It was devoid of personality aside from a black and white photo of a smiling woman standing in front of a mid-sized house with a perfectly manicured lawn. The rest of the desk was sparse – just a typewriter and a stack of paper. Everything else of use was filed away.
He was working on an unimportant story in an unimportant section. He was losing focus on the writing when the editor suddenly commanded his attention.
“Henry, this needed to be done an hour ago. Even your mediocrity is necessary for this paper. Get it done now,” his boss demanded with a sneer.
“Yes, sir,” Henry replied sheepishly. He was used to being belittled. He knew deep down that he should fight against it, but he had grown accustomed to it over his life. To him, it felt routine. It was a part of his existence. He accepted a long time ago that it was his place. He was overlooked and underappreciated. He just went with the motions and lived his simple life. It was just him and his wife, Maude.
Henry had reined in his mind and finished the filler story. He was walking to his car when a searing pain exploded from within him. Visions of a train toppling off the tracks, an explosion of radiating warm colors, and worst of all, burning flesh. The faces of people contorting with intense pain and sorrow dug at him, and he desperately wanted it to end. Not just for the souls caught by death, but for himself. He couldn’t take it any longer. That one shred of luck he might have had was used on this desire, because the agony subsided and he was left thunderstruck. He stood there for a minute, paralyzed. He gained control and left for home.
The next day, the drive to the office was as normal as he was. Well, as normal as he was before the unnatural event that occurred the previous day. He was lost in remembrance when the smell hit him. At first, Henry thought someone was cooking a pig. When the lights diverted his attention, he knew he was wrong. The details were the exact same as in his premonition. But instead of just a firing of neurons, what he saw was real. Real people were dead and dying, burning alive and crushed from the sheer force of the derailed train.
He felt responsible for this; as if this nobody had the power to change the future and fate of dozens. He had become an involuntary seer. Able to see the future, to know the destiny of others. But alas, even if he was higher up on the hierarchy in this town, no one would ever take him seriously. Well, no one besides his wife. He trusted Maude undeniably. Henry didn’t want to worry her, though. For all he knew, this was just a one time thing. At the end of his thoughts, he decided one thing: he would tell her if he had another vision.
He was on his lunch break, seated at the only diner in town when the pain reared up again. It was even worse on this occasion. He witnessed a whole city ablaze, presumably Chicago, and saw skyscrapers toppling over from a lick of wind. There were bodies stacked on the side of the road with no one to claim them. It horrified him to his core. The massive loss of life and the obliteration sickened him. He dared not break the promise he made to his sane self.
Henry had driven at a speed he never imagined he would in this small town. Maude was seemingly doing remedial work when he blundered in.
“Oh, Henry dear! What are you doing at home?” She questioned, startled from his sudden appearance.
“I need to tell you something. You probably won’t believe me, but I need you to try,” Henry rambled, shaking with nerves.
“Okay, go on,” Maude shakily replied.
He began, “Well, it started with having a vision of the train derailment the day before it happened. Everything was the same. And then today, I saw a city on fire with piles of the deceased.”
“That simply isn’t true. You’re either lying to me, or you truly believe this and instead have lost your mind,” Maude rebutted.
“But it is! I was leaving work when I first saw the premonition, and on my way to work I saw the accident. Don’t you see? I saw it before it happened! The same is going to happen to this city if we don’t do something about it,” Henry exclaimed with a wild look in his eyes.
“Okay, if you really think this, then I will try to do the same,” Maude conceded, barely making eye contact.
– – –
Hands gripped his shoulders, pulling him from the clutches of sleep. He found himself being dragged from the house by rough hands, and thrown into the back of a car with shackles around his wrists. He looked out the window toward his house to see Maude standing in the entryway, her arms crossed in front of her and tears streaking down her cheeks. When he caught her eye, she immediately looked down and went back into the house, closing the door behind her.
The drive was long and silent. It was as if they were taking the long way to Hell. The men up front never once glanced back at him. They finally reached their destination – Winwood Asylum. It was a rectangular building, made entirely of dull gray concrete. The sky darkened at its presence, and they were soon pulling up to the front gate.
Henry was in a daze for the rest of the day and found himself sitting in a lone chair in the corner of the six-by-six room. His blunt pencil moved against crumpled paper that had been flattened. He was writing about betrayal and pain and sorrow, and a change of circumstance that only took place in the span of a few days. He wrote his last line, the title. It read: “The Story of an Involuntary Seer.”